SOURCE: Remuda Ranch

Remuda Ranch

August 25, 2010 12:33 ET

Remuda Ranch Reports Cutting Is Prevalent in Eating Disorder Patients

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - August 25, 2010) -  Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders reports in the past five years, self-injury, particularly cutting oneself, is becoming more prevalent among eating disorder patients. 

"Approximately 40 to 50 percent of our patients have either reported a history of self-injury or are presently engaging in these behaviors," said Dena Cabrera, PsyD, psychologist and national speaker at Remuda Ranch. "This number seems to be consistent for the past five years. Studies have shown that adolescents engaging in self-injury behavior were more likely to have an eating disorder."

Cutting may be increasing in our culture because young women today are struggling with identity issues and dealing with challenging problems. They feel they have to go to extremes to show others that they are suffering. Often, they are suffering from depression. In a visual culture, cutting may be a voice to get needs met. Self-injury may represent that struggle visually while physiologically and emotionally numbing the pain.

Based on studies and direct patient reports, Dr. Cabrera lists the following as additional reasons for self-injury:

  • Stimulation: Escaping dissociative experience through an intentional gesture to feel one's body, thereby using self-injury as a self-grounding technique.
  • Emotional Release: Self-imposed when feeling guilt, shame, weakness, anger or punishment.
  • Relaxation: A pleasure response to the warmth of the blood and to the physical sensation of pain.
  • Distraction: Inducing dissociation or a trance-like state to avoid attending to an emotional trigger, issue, subject or suicidal thoughts.
  • Social Attention: Obtaining self-affirmation by showing oneself and others one's strength and achieving protection through the response of others.
  • Alteration: Altering one's body to make it unattractive to others through scarring.

At Remuda Ranch, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is used to teach patients skills to replace the self-harm behavior whether that behavior is an eating disorder, cutting, or both.

"We provide structure to the patient's environment to motivate, reinforce and individualize appropriate skills needed for recovery," adds Dr. Cabrera. "We also help remove negative behaviors as well as establish plans in case of relapse."

"If someone you know is practicing self-injury it's important to get help immediately," said Dr. Cabrera. "Cutting is not like biting your nails, it can be very dangerous. Further, it perpetuates low self worth and esteem. It becomes a vicious cycle."

About Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders
Remuda Ranch offers inpatient and residential programs for individuals of all faiths suffering from eating or anxiety disorders. Each patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team including a psychiatric and a primary care provider, registered dietitian, master's level therapist, psychologist and registered nurse. The professional staff equips each patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive life. For more information, call
1-800-445-1900 or visit

Contact Information

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    Tel: 602-332-9026