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Monday, October 7, 2013 - 6:25pm

Over the past couple of months, Baton Rouge counselors have seen an increase in teenaged girls hurting themselves to deal with emotional stress.

People have different ways of dealing with stress. Some revert to writing, working out, or music, but for others, it's a different story.

Tiffany Thibodeaux is a professional counselor. She helps teens who hurt themselves find healthier ways to deal with their emotions.

"Cutting is just a form of coping. They cut, and it releases endorphins that actually make them feel better for a limited amount of time," Thibodeaux said. "Cutting is whenever teenagers take any device, most commonly razor blades, staples, earrings, anything they can, and they make cuts, usually in their wrists."

In recent months, Thibodeaux, along with other counselors in Baton Rouge, have seen an increased number of patients who cut themselves, but there are warning signs

"A lot of times kids will make excuses like the cat scratched me. I fell. I injured myself, but if they have a suspicion, a lot of times they're usually right," Thibodeaux said. "There are definitely more teenage girls that are cutting, but we are seeing an increase in teenage boys that are cutting. A lot of times girls will cut, while boys will bang their heads, punch things, and do those types of self-injury."

If you are a parent, and think your child is hurting themself, research shows it's better to be understanding, instead of fussing or punishing your child.

"They should make their child feel very supportive and very much like 'I am going to help you. We're going to figure this out together,'" Thibodeaux said.

"Most of what we use is cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, which are techniques that look a lot at changing the behavior and establishing new coping skills for these kids," Thibodeaux said. "So it's actually replacing that with something that's more adaptive, like poetry or music or going outside, some other form of coping."

If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your child about going to someone they trust, like a teacher or a school counselor to get some help.

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