Consequences of Cutting

Cutting is an addiction that is hard to overcome. There is nothing quite like it. Most cutters would say they don't want to kill themselves, they just like the sight of their blood, and the high it brings. Andi said she's been cutting for a year and a half, even though she doesn't remember why she started:

Hours locked in the bathroom at home, or on the floor of a dirty bathroom stall, the cutter carries her precious tools with her wherever she goes ready at any time to take matters into her own hands. To relieve the emotional pressure and pain she can't describe, she resorts to slicing into her own skin. The dripping blood reminds her she's still alive. No one to talk to, she settles for self-injury. The blade is her fake friend. The shame and the scars, her constant companions. Just trying to find her way through the rocky road of life, she can't help but turn inward.  I don't want to be anything but compassionate toward someone caught in the struggle of cutting. But I also want to expose the destructive consequences of cutting.

Paralyzing, Emotional Pain

No one cuts to end up paralyzed in her own emotional pain. But somewhere down the road, that's where she finds herself.

Someone wrote and told me that after the high of cutting wears off, you are left with even more pain. "I quit the cutting because someone once told me the truth, that you only forget about your emotional pain for a moment. It's like a drug you come down from it and you feel much worse than you did before because you have to deal with the emotional pain that comes from cutting on top of whatever emotional pain you were already feeling."

Dara said she cut for two years, but still carries the weight of the emotional pain with her. "A couple of minutes of relief are not worth the months of hiding and uncomfortable situations when people find out."

People who begin cutting are convinced their self-medication works. It is a shattering experience to find out later on, not only does it not work, but it is extremely emotionally destructive.

A Body Full of Scars

One has to wonder how many countless hours and strategic ways cutters use to hide their physical scars...permanent reminders of their tragic mistakes. Eddie started cutting when he was twelve. "I thought it was for me to take all my anger and frustrations out on myself, but I noticed the scars it leaves will always remind me of my mistakes."

Sidney is 14 and has been cutting since she was nine. "Those scars are there forever and every time I see them, I'm going to be so sad about why I [cut]." 

Not only are you left with scars for the rest of your life, but it's also very possible to get infections from cutting with something that is dirty or not sterile. It is also extremely possible to misjudge the depth of a cut, actually requiring stitches or even hospitalization. You can pass out or even bleed to death. You don't want to die, I'm sure of that. Let's face it, cutting is a scar-giving enemy, who will constantly remind you of a dark past no one would want to repeat or remember.

A Sick Web of Addiction

Most cutters never intend to become addicted to it. Liz said, for her, cutting was worse than drugs because she wanted to do it all the time. You don't care where you's almost like you can't go on without it.

Cutting can easily become a compulsive behavior, meaning the more you do it, the more you feel the need to do it. Your brain starts to connect the false sense of relief with cutting. The next time you feel the pressure building, your brain craves this relief.

The urge to cut can seem too hard to resist. Your attempt to feel a sense of control over your life has ended up controlling you.

JS commented about how all through high school she would try to stop, but then would go back to it shortly after. "Then I would feel horrible when I finished cutting. The highs weren't lasting as long and the crash was even worse. So, I began cutting more, deeper, and more frequently. Being very interested in psychology I knew the chemical reasons, but I was already hooked and couldn't stop."

You know I care about you very much...enough to tell you the truth. But let's get down to it. If you are a cutter, it's time for you step back and take a good look at what you're doing to yourself. It's time to tell yourself the truth. It's also time to figure out how to resist your urge to cut.

Are you addicted to cutting?

  • Does the cutting actually help you deal with the emotional pain you're going through, or does it just cover it up?
  • Do you feel more worthless the more scars you see on your body?
  • Are your friends worried about your cutting?
  • Do you spend large amounts of time trying to hide your cutting?
  • Have you told yourself you want to quit, but can't?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you or someone you know, needs to read, How to Quit Cutting for Good.  It could be a life-changer.

For help with cutting and information about our partner that specializes in self-harm recovery read: 5 Things to Know About Door of Hope

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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24 comments on “Consequences of Cutting”

  1. I appreciate you talking about self harm. But it is completely unacceptable to say " A body full of ugly scars". For people who have self harmed we beat ourselves up everyday because of our scars. We are in a constant struggle with loving ourselves because of how our scars look. So for you to just come and say "A body full of ugly scars" on a article for people seeking help is extremely disrespectful.

  2. I had cut for 2 years, then I hid my blade so I could stop cutting. I wasn't able to find any other way to stop cutting, and knew that I was going too far. My parents only laughed when they saw my cuts, causing me to feel even more worthless. My health has been declining since then and I've been becoming suicidal. I can't remember where I put the blade, which is what I wanted to do in the first place, and I am now having at least 3 anxiety attacks a day. I beg you, don't cut!

    1. Trixy, Thank you for encouraging others not to cut. Self-harm is an addiction that is hard to overcome without help. We are also proud of you for hiding your blade. It sounds like you are dealing with a lot of anxiety and we think our partner organization, Door of Hope, that specializes in Self-Harm would be good for you to contact They have recovery coaches available that could help you with the anxiety you are dealing with. Please visit for more information about them and their number to text to talk to a recovery coach.

  3. I’ve cut. My pain has got to much and I don’t know why I’m here a lot of the time. My friend tried to help me. But right now I’m trying to stay away but I can’t. I haven’t cut in a month. My mom knows but she says it’s a white attentions seeking phase and that it’s something my
    Aunt would do but I’m trying

    1. Please know you are valuable and worthy! Self-harm is not an attention seeking thing. There is a legitimate reason why the desire to cut is with you. It's very hard to overcome self-harm without help. We are proud of you for reaching out for help. We have a partner organization, Door of Hope, that specializes in Self-Harm and has recovery coaches available. Please visit for more information about them and their number to text to talk to a recovery coach.

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