View Full Version : Is Self Harm Related To Add ?

10-22-08, 01:55 PM
Hi have been reading through some of the posts on self harm, and was quite surprised by how many people there is with add who do this. as some one who is still trying to get a diagnoses for add, and who also has self harmed for many years, i wondered if the link further proves my belief of add also can add medication reduce the strong urges to do this ? any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. many thanks Whitestripesfan :p

10-22-08, 03:12 PM
Here's a list of diagnosiss associated with self mutilation.

Borderline Personality Disorder (
Mood Disorders (
Eating Disorders (
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (
Dissociative Disorders (
Anxiety and/or Panic (
Impulse-control Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (
Self-injury as itself a diagnosis (

As a kid, I used to pick scabs, acne, tear (not bite) finger nails constantly. I still have to catch myself on the fingernails (always carry a clipper) and I'm not picking scabs unless I'm zoning out completely lost in thought. My parents just said I was 'bad' and that I'd grow out of it. They did all the pepper on fingernails stuff, but gave up. I did cut back on the nail tearing after a coworker in my first job (at age 22) said "eeeew!"

My meds have helped.

10-22-08, 03:44 PM
hiya chow mix thanks for the info, much appreciated, so you would say add has nothing to do with it, i have had in past years aneorexia nervosa . depression, anxiety, mood disorders etc, and throughout this i hav e self harmed at various points mainly punching with fists or heavy iron objects, causing bad bruising and at one time a broken wrist. i can't say why i do it but it feels really self destructive like im punishing myself for something,but not totally sure wht, but the result somehow assuages that guilt mking it bearble. so this continues. you say meds helped do you mind me asking which ones you take if that is not impolite. thanks again love whitestripes x hey great mix by the way !:p

10-24-08, 02:30 PM
I've been self harming since I was about 8 years old, I think it's to do with impulse too, which is a part of ADD/ADHD

Grey Kameleon
10-24-08, 04:53 PM
For me, it was a form of self-medication. I didn't realize this at the time, or I probably would have used caffeine or nicotine. I was 16 years old.

10-26-08, 09:26 AM
hey thank you Sarey, grey chameleon, and chow mix, you mentioned problems with impulse disorders Sarey, am quite interested in that , ive always had destructive impulses,such as feeling compelled to touch live cables and as a kid sticking my fingers in plug outlets, some things have just been down to plain inattention, but im acutely aware of the flirtation i seem to have for the destructiveness i know most people have that strange senstion of being drawn to cliff edges or the like but i have actually gone through with these things, causing electric shocks etc,or constantly pushing limits of medications to dangerous levels don't rreally understand that, sounds a bit crazy nd would just like to understand the motivation behind it, im dreadfully sorry you felt the need to self harm a t such a young age,you seem a really great girl sarey, talk to me any time o.k ???? im a bit old and boring but hope ya can put up with that h ha ! thank you all for your input, i agree ultimately grey kameleon it is a form of self medication, i hope things are better for you now, take care all of you, love whitestripes x

10-26-08, 05:03 PM
Well, because the main symptoms of ADHD are inattentive, hyperactivity and impulsive, it's pretty self explainable.

People with ADD/ADHD don't really think about consequences, they act on their feelings, they have little self control, or they don't pay enough attention to things and do the wrong thing, for self harm, I'd say in most part, you act on your feelings, like many ADD'ers/ADHD'ers do, which is an impulse thing, you don't really think, you just do it, you see what I mean? It's part of ADHD because the main symptoms are inattentive, hyperactivity, impulsive, however, some have just inattentive, or just hyperactivity/impulsiveness, and some have combined, so some may have quite good control, and some may not.

For me, I act on my feelings, however, I was quite young when I started self harming, and I wasn't really thinking, I was angry and I just cut myself, or I'd bite&suck my skin, so now I am left with permanent scars over my body.

Here is an example:

Someone is angry or upset. They punch a wall. That, in the end, becomes a coping mechanism for short term relief for the feelings at hand. They don't really think of the consequences, or think about what they are doing, all they know is they are angry and so they lash out to release that / feel better. That is an example of someone with poor control/impulsive, which is a symptom of ADHD > Impulsive.

Does this make any sense?

10-27-08, 07:37 AM
hi again, Sarey, thanks for that info, i don't think i ever realised that impulsive problems were a sympton of ADD i just noticed a lot of people on here seem to relate to that problem, so it got me to wondering, it strenghtens my belief of ADD even more, i agree sometimes the feelings are very impulsive, without thinking, just fly into it. but other times i do think my behaviouur is more calculating, sometimes the thoughts are with me alot before i actually unleash it, like a mounting desire, that can build, so its not so impulsive, its like a little ball of self hatred that just keeps growing, and the thought of it becomes almost like the need for a fix of some kind. do you ever feel this way ???? i hope im not being too candid , just trying to understand it, do you mind me asking was there a particular event that triggered that first self harm episode, i don't wish to pry into the details Sarey,cause thats really not my bussiness, just wondered if there was something that originally motivated it, and could that be more of the problem than ADD by itself, something that sits along side your problems with add, if you like, sorry just thinking aloud abit, any thoughts, id be really interested to hear ? love whitestripes x:cool:

10-27-08, 09:42 AM
I'm not sure I understand about the little ball of self hatred, could you possibly elaborate?

I don't really remember so much, but a lot was going on for me, and I was a very angry child, I remember getting a razor and just cutting myself. I felt so much better. That is where the cutting addiction began. It has got increasingly worse, to the point where I've needed to go to the hospital and get stitches, because the bleeding wouldn't stop or the cuts were too severe to leave without medical attention. I've had a few infections in my days too, but luckily not too bad ones. I am doing much better though. I have been cut free for a few weeks now. Though, my coping strategies are elsewhere, which is an even worse problem in itself.

My self harming behavior first started with biting/sucking myself, then it grew to cutting, and I've dodged in a little salt&ice burns(not sure if you are aware of what they are), dodged a lot in punching walls until my fists were bruised badly, pulling out my hair, slapping myself, all sorts.

Did you not know that being impulsive is part of ADHD/ADD? Wow, that's like, one of three main symptoms... Inattentive, hyperactivity and impulsive...


Thank you for posting again and taking the time to post, I look forward to your next one.

10-27-08, 01:05 PM
hi there SAREY, Thanks again for your reply, im trying to think best how to explain the self hatred thing. i can only see it as a form of penance for something,its like a physical pain in the pit of your stomach that spreads outwards, like feeling real anger,but its pointing at you instead of someone else. an example is this, a few years back i had an argument with my mum, whom i love dearly, now everyone has arguments from time to time from misunderstandings, but my reaction to this was very violent, just felt striken with guilt, ended up smashing my face up pretty bad, looked like id been in a car wreck, naturally my mum was horrified, but it was nt to hurt her that i did it, i was ashamed afterwards, although ifelt like i had tleast paid for my anger, i really did nt want to distress her with my reactions, but when its your face yu can't cover it up, since then ive been more careful to be more discreet. with injuries so they can be covered, sometimes i think maybe its cause my father has a sociopathic nature and any sign of anger or meaness in myself, sends me reeling, so i feel the need t deal with it in this way, does that make sense ? sorry if ive rabbled but im really not that good at expressing myself. you say you were an angry child, but something normally prompts that anger, maybe you could nt express yourself in a more positive way and felt misunderstood, so it was your only form of expression, do you ever feel angry at yourself, or are you attempting with self harm to stifle your anger at others ? you don't have to answer this if you don't wish sarey, its just a thought? no i was totally unaware of the impulse thing, very enlightening,thank you for the info, its hard to work out sometimes where one problem begins and another ends ! so tht helps me undeerstand better. thanks again sarey and everyone who has replied its been greatly appreciated love whitestripes x

10-27-08, 05:02 PM
I think I understand more clearly now. I'm not sure if I've been in that position, though I can relate.

I feel angry at myself, and I attempt with self harm to stifle my anger at others. It's a mix going on here.

10-28-08, 07:28 AM
Hi there, thanks for understanding Sarey, i just feel a total nut job some times lol! so the fact anyone understands where im coming from really helps.

why do you feel so angry at yourself Sarey ? what ever is making you feel bad,you need to find the root of that, i know thats not easy, sometimes you just don't wanna rake up the past., and i really understand that, but sometimes you really need to find out what your beating yourself up about.

if you feel guilt for something, that makes you feel a bad person, you ve got to rrealise your only 15 years old, how responsible can a 15 year old be, for the events in their life. is there something that makes you feel ultimately bad? let me just say this, a bad person is someone who does something to hurt others and derives pleasure from it, you seem a young lady, that feels the opposite of that, always seeking to control your anger at your own expense, this makes you anything but bad, just very sensitive, and thoughtful, does that make sense ? im not so good at expressing things right.

for this reason i really hope you can resolve that inner conflict thats causing you so much pain. i wish you the sincerest best wishes that you do so, for you have a lot going for you, sometimes it just tkes others to highlight that fact. take care love whitestripes x

10-28-08, 07:47 AM
Oh, you make a lot of sense hun, you ain't no nut job, it's the rest of the world that is ;)

I think I am just angry and hateful towards myself because... well... I hate myself! Y'no? Got low self esteem, low confidence, though amazingly I handle that well in some situations. I think I just blame myself for a lot that goes on, and my family don't help that...

<3 xxx

10-28-08, 08:07 AM
i understand all that you feel Sarey, listening to you, feels like im hearing myself,and its painful to hear from one that is so young, i don't expect you to divulge the private details of your life, to me, but if you need to talk about some of these issues you can always pm me where its more private for you.

have you spoken to any one outside your family,even if its just the sane line or mind, where its more anonymous,

i know personally i ve always had a harm time with pschs and social workers, evenif there nice, which im afraid sometimes there not, cause i think deep down you know its just there job, and there just paid to listen, maybethats just me being negative, but i do feel you need to speak to someone outside of your family situation, to gain perspective. so if you have nt already i really would urge you to.

but chat to me if you feel comfortable, i may not have the answers, but hopefully i maybe able to help you gain an outside perspective about your feelings, i think that always helps, well please take care Sarey, i reallyy wish you all the best love whitestripes x

11-06-08, 12:45 AM
Although I've never heard anything about self harm being related to ADHD, there is an indirect connection.

A study done in Italy comparing individuals with borderline personality disorder to individuals with other personality disorders, individuals with no PD's and individuals in the community, found a high correlation between those with the borderline disorder and those with ADHD. They found that the almost 60% of those diagnosed with BPD had ADHD as well, significantly higher than all of the other groups.

In addition, a study of adults with ADHD reported in the book, ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says by Russell Barkely and Kevin Murphy, found that 24--29% of adults with ADHD met the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder.

I personally know of 12 individuals who have both BPD and ADHD (and two of then have bipolar disorder as well). My husband happens to be one of those with BPD and ADHD. He doesn't self-harm as his anger is directed outward more than inward.

Yet another man I know of doesn't cut but he burns his arms with cigarettes and during another stressful time he got a tattoo to deal with his pain.

Undiagnosed and untreated ADHD in childhood is one of the risk factors associated with BPD.

For those in intense emotional pain, cutting can release endorphins in the brain and make the individual feel better. If the underlying pain is removed i.e., successful management of BPD symptoms and feelings, cutting will no longer produce the same effects but will hurt without offering relief.

Not everyone who cuts has BPD but BPD is commonly associated with cutting and other forms of self-harm. And one of the criteria for BPD is impulsive behaviors that are self-destrictive. This can take on many different forms and includes gambling, substance abuse, binge eating and bulimia, high risk behavior, compulsive shopping and sexual promiscuity to name some of the more common ones.