The Effects of Bullying

Awareness of mental health has soared over the last few decades. As our society begins to comprehend the illnesses that plague so many, we become more aware of the ramifications of our actions. Actions such as bullying in school can lead to long-lasting emotional damage for the victims who experience it. In the short term, a child may exhibit symptoms such as anxiety, depression, anger, lower grades than their peers, suicidal thoughts and feelings, and even illness occurring more often. If your child has exhibited some or all of these symptoms, you should consider seeking a therapist to help work through the trauma before it becomes deeper rooted and becomes detrimental in the long-term. When left unchecked, bullying can lead to self-esteem problems, increased desire to be alone, interpersonal difficulties such as fear and avoiding new social situations, difficulty trusting people, lingering feelings of bitterness and anger, and even reduced occupational opportunities.

There is an increasing body of research supporting the link between bullying and long-term emotional damage. A victim does not even need to be physically harmed in order to suffer lasting harm. In fact, the primary wound that victims of bullying endure is the damage to their own identities. Bullying attempts to create fear and self-loathing. One who is a target of bullying has their ability to view themselves as a capable, desirable, and effective individual is damaged. Being bullied repetitively forces the person to contemplate their lack of control over the bullying process. After repeated scenarios of the bullying, they will come to believe they can't do anything to change this situation, which then sets them up for hopelessness and depression.

The anxiety and depression that can result from the experience of being bullied are truly crippling. Panic attacks, moments of intense fear that seem to have no real trigger, can develop and cause a person to become even more secluded and upset with their own state of mind. This can then lead to the development of agoraphobia, the fear of leaving the house. Being too scared to leave the house, coupled with the fear of having another panic attack, can lead to an increase in depression. You can imagine how frustrating it must be, feeling like you can't leave the house and not understanding why. This is backed by the self-esteem issues that a bullied victim faces. The fear and frustration associated with agoraphobia and panic attacks only compound onto the already damaged self-concept. This is where it can become a cycle of anxiety and depression that is very difficult to break out of. If you are suffering from these symptoms yourself, it would be very beneficial to contact a qualified counselor that specializes in kid therapy. There is hope for you, you just have to take the first step.