One of the problems with self-injury is that it is not just skin-deep. As Dawson has told past callers, “for every scar on their body they have a scar on their heart”. The causes of self-injury are typically deep-rooted and the behavior flows from a serious emotional need and the inability to otherwise cope with the need.
Whether a person self-injures because they are attempting to control or manage pain, because it provides some relief from intense emotions or anxiety, because they desire the attention of others, or because the experience provides them with a sense of being real or alive, there is likely a deep emotional pain associated with the behavior. Like other addictive behaviors, the self-injury may best be seen as a symptom, not as the root problem.