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LINDSAY LOHAN DRAMA: Cutting A Quick Fix For Emotional Problems, Say Experts

Nov. 11 2009, Published 7:32 a.m. ET

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In shocking phone conversations exclusively obtained by RadarOnline.com Lindsay Lohan’s mom, Dina, is heard expressing her concern over her daughter’s self mutilation. And with good reason, as experts in the field tell RadarOnline.com that self harm is often just one factor of greater, underlying emotional issues.

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Renown psychotherapist, and author of Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation, Dr. Steven Levenkron tells RadarOnline.com that Lindsay’s behavior is a sign of disturbed psychiatric behavior and that it will take time and energy to help her heal. "Whether (a given patient's) condition is termed being 'out of touch with reality,' 'psychotic,' or 'in a diagnosed state,' the scene constitutes severely disturbed psychiatric behavior,” Levenkron says. “ This is the element that must be present in order to meet the criteria for self-injury. 'Severely disturbed behavior' does not mean hopeless, but it does mean that it will take a long time, lots of focused attention, and an intense emotional bond between helper and sufferer in order to repair the damage."

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And Dr. Wendy Lader, PHD, President and Clinical Director of the S.A.F.E ALTERNATIVES program, a nationally recognized treatment approach, professional network and resource base, and an international speaker on self-injury elaborates, telling RadarOnline.com, "The main reason for self injury is to deal with emotional regulation. For whatever reason it helps them to calm down.

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"People who self harm have the inability to communicate the depth of  their feelings.

"They can't talk about their emotions. And they want to do something quick to deal with their frustration or anger. Cutting works immediately. As soon as they split the skin there is a release.

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"The problem is that most people don't just self harm by cutting. Many have eating disorders too.

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"Its all about control. They have non over the way they are feeling but they can control their body image. It's a dangerous combination.

"Some people describe the feeling as euphoric. But I think they are confusing that for release of tension.

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"The way to help these people is to make them recognize that when they have an impulse to hurt themselves, it's a clue that they don't want to feel something.

"They need to focus on what it is they don't want to deal with and try to attack it in a different way.

"Some people do manage to stop by themselves but others go their whole lives cutting or harming themselves.

"I encourage anyone going through this to be assessed."

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