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Seen At 11: Doctors Warn Parents Of Teen Self-Harming

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Doctors are talking about the warning signs of teenagers who cut themselves and hide their injuries from their parents.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the disturbing trend is on the rise.

“My thoughts were constantly about hurting myself. It’s an addiction like anything else,” said 16-year-old Victoria Kountz.

Kountz showed Gainer some of the cutting on her arms performed with various tools — blades, scissors, anything sharp she could find.

“I did it an average of six times a day,” she said.

Until her parents admitted her to a hospital, Gainer reported.

“The part that hurt me the lowest was around 2, 3 in the morning, when I had to make that decision and send my daughter into the hospital, and relinquish full control,” said Kountz’s father, Robert.

“It’s heartbreaking. When we first found out about it, I didn’t know anything about it,” said Kountz’s mother, Wendy.

For Victoria, the cutting started two years ago during her freshman year of high school. She said she had a hard time fitting in and battled depression.

“It kind of distracted me from everything I was thinking and it felt like I had a sense of control,” she explained.

Victoria said she’s not the only one.

“It’s more common than people think. I know a lot of my friends have done it and still are doing it,” she said.

Experts said 18 percent of adolescents are cutting themselves.

“There’s a calming effect — it alters your mood, and it works really quite well and very quickly,” said Dr. Michael Hollander, of McLean Hospital.

Doctors, however, stressed that it is only a temporary fix.

After months of therapy, Victoria said she’s doing much better. She recently returned from a trip where she had the opportunity to work with children in need.

Now, she wants to become a psychologist.

“She has a need and a purpose in life. To see her smile again, it’s awesome. I got my daughter back,” Robert Kountz said.

Doctors said parents should look or waning signs like bloody tissues in the garbage can or bloody razors.

Many teens also hide the problem with long sleeves or pants.

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