(CBS) What's the best way to cope with emotional pain?
Some exercise. Some meditate. Others get support from friends and family members. But some people - especially young women - take a self-destructive route, literally cutting themselves.
"Cutting has become a coping behavior for young people, and it has gained momentum," Harvard psychologist Dr. Sharon Chirban, an expert on cutting and related disorders, tells CBS News. "It can become a go-to behavior for people when they sustain a self-esteem hit."
Among teenage girls, roughly one in 200 has engaged in cutting behavior, according to Dr. Chirban.
Chirban says the cutting - often on the arms or legs - can provide a welcome distraction from psychic pain. And for some, cutting themselves actually gives them a sort of "high" - similar to the runner's high some people get from prolonged aerobic exercise.
But self-injury isn't the best way to ease emotional pain, Dr. Chirban says. Better to look into psychotherapy or possibly antidepressant or antianxiety medication and to stop cutting.
In other words, cut it out.