Bullying and mental health
There is a immediacy to a bullying situation for a child. The sooner the situation can be resolved, the better for all parties.
However, what can be often overlooked is the fact that bullying can actually create long-term problems for all involved. It’s becoming more clear that bullying is a large problem in this country to the point where states like North Carolina worked with the community and Charlotte psychiatrists to pass anti-bullying legislation. The long-term effects of bullying can have effects on the emotional well being of both the victim of the bullying and the perpetrator.
Victims of bullying can often have long-lasting repercussions. The issue is not simply the problems associated with being bullied but in more long-lasting complications that a child can develop as a result. Often children who are bullied can develop problems with anxiety, and are more likely to develop problems associated with depression as a result of being bullied, as well as migraines and are more prone to drug and alcohol abuse. Find out more information about bullying with this Long-term Effects of Bullying infographic.
One of the more problematic long-term symptoms of a child being bullied can be an internalization of the bullying to the point where a child begins to accept the taunts as truth, and this begins to shape the child’s behaviors. Without an appropriate support system, victims of bullying can begin to exhibit signs of low self-esteem and some even develop self-loathing.
Physical symptoms such as eating disorders can also result as a reaction to bullying, and though the typical belief is that this is a danger for girls, Dr. Stephanie Setliff, a Dallas psychiatrist, warns in an article with the Dallas News that “the incidence of boys is definitely on the rise.”
One of the biggest challenges a child can face after being systematically bullied is a lack of confidence. A bullied child may lack the confidence to engage in new behaviors or take on new challenges if they have a low self-confidence level. While normal children lack the self-awareness to stop them from actively trying things they may fail at, a bullied child can approach new situations with an expectation of failure and a resistance to try new things at all.
Often overlooked is the long-term effect that bullying can have on the perpetrator. Bullies often have a hard time forming attachments and connections later in life. This trouble can often stem from whatever behavior is causing them to act out in negative ways towards other children. Bullies can often be victims of some sort of abuse at home or suffering from low self-esteem as well. Without changing their behavior, they are at risk some of the same long-term emotional problems that their victims face, as well.