The internet is abuzz with pictures of Miley Cyrus’ visible “side boob” at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party.
But blogger Perez Hilton pointed out something something much more disturbing in the photos – a series of scars above Miley’s left wrist on her inner forearm indicating self-harm.
This is not the first time that suspected cutting marks have been seen on Miley’s arm — suspicious marks were also apparent last July.
And Miley has certainly been thinking about cutting — last month she spoke out against an online prankster’s campaign to urge Justin Bieber fans to harm themselves after a picture of Justin smoking marijuana emerged. #cutforbieber became a major Twitter trend afterwards, but Miley tweeted:
#cutforbieber? Cutting is NOT something to joke about. There are people who are actually suffering from self-harm, this is so disrespectful.
If Miley Cyrus is, or has been, engaging in self-harm, she certainly is not alone. Fellow Disney star Demi Lovato has been very open about her battle with the disorder. Other celebrities who have admitting to cutting include Fiona Apple, Russell Brand, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Darrell Hammond and Drew Barrymore.
Cutting is the most commonly used method for self-injury or self-harm where people use a sharp knife or razor to cut themselves on their arms, stomach and/or legs.
Thoughts of self-harm typically occur when a person is alone and experiencing negative thoughts or feelings such as worthlessness, anger, guilt, helplessness, rejection or self-hatred. It is widely believed that self-harm is done in most cases as a means of self-soothing stress relief or help-seeking.
Cutting is usually considered a symptom of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in which the cutter has no intent to die. But this is not a diagnosis to make on your own. If you or anyone you know has thoughts about hurting themselves, you must seek the help of a mental health professional.
Researchers such as Dr. Matthew Nock believe that cutting or NSSI is not itself a mental illness but rather a form of communication where actions speak louder than words.
Cutters typically often fiercely try to hide their cutting. Warning signs that someone is injuring himself or herself include:
For medical doctors and psychologists there are methods to test whether or not a person is engaging in deliberate self-harm. The most effective treatment for NSSI is most often a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication.
There are a number of interesting and useful books on NSSI including:
Click here to go the Resounding Health Casebook on NSSI.