Sometimes teens who are really struggling will intentionally scratch or cut themselves on their wrists, arms, legs or bellies until they bleed. This is called "cutting." Cutting is a way some may try to cope with strong emotional pain. The physical pain associated with cutting is enough to temporality relieve or mask the pain inside. Obviously this is not a healthy way to cope with internal pain. The relief is not lasting because the feelings that triggered it remain. Most people who cut are female but males do it too. Cutting can become a compulsive or addictive behavior. Once started, it can be very difficult to stop. People who cut will usually try to hide the marks and scars. One of the signs of cutting is if your child constantly wears long sleeves even in hot weather. Cutting usually starts in the early teens but some continue the practice into adulthood. If your teen has entered this stage, their life is at risk and they need immediate professional intervention.

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