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Monday, October 03, 2005 :: Home of the Sunday Times :: South Africa's best selling newspaper ::: "PSYCHOLOGISTS and psychiatrists in South Africa have reported an alarming increase in the number of cases of teenagers mutilating themselves.
A counsellor for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, Janine Shamos, said child abuse and neglect in situations where Aids decimates families, anxiety about exams and jobs, and peer pressure are among the triggers that provoke teenagers to try to escape their emotional pain by drawing blood.
Self-cutting is also a warning sign of underlying illnesses, such as personality and mood disorders and depression, said University of Cape Town psychologist Dr Helgo Schomer.
While stress fuels self-cutting and suicide � the fastest growing cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds in South Africa � self-mutilation is distinct from suicide.
Wits University psychologist Vanessa Hemp explained the motivation behind self-cutting as an attempt to feel better � not to end everything.
Hemp said increasing numbers of children with self-mutilation problems, were coming to the Tara/Alexandra Outpatient�s Clinic in Johannesburg, where she is based. �We see more and more girls and boys doing self-mutilation. This is generally about an inability to deal with difficult feelings ... Cutting is a form of release and control,� she said.
Although there are no figures to indicate how widespread such
self-harming behaviour is in South Africa, international studies indicate that about 18 out of 1000 people aged 15 to 35 harm themselves, and roughly half of all teenagers who are admitted for psychiatric treatment have injured themselves.
Shamos said: �When the emotional pain becomes immense, it is easier to deal with the physical pain. The cutting almost has a calming effect and can be addicti"

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not