Effects of Bullying

Bullying has serious and lasting effects.  While these effects may also be caused by other factors, research has found bullying has significant effects for those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying.

People Who are Bullied:

Have higher risk of depression and anxiety, including the following symptoms, that may persist into adulthood:

  • Increased feelings of sadness and loneliness
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Have increased thoughts about suicide that may persist into adulthood.  In one study, adults who recalled being bullied in youth were 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or inclinations.
  • Are more likely to have health complaints.  In one study, being bullied was associated with physical health status 3 years later.
  • Have decreased academic achievement (GPA and standardized test scores) and school participation.
  • Are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.
  • Stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, fatigue (including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), trauma.
  • Physical Symptoms – reduced immunity to infection leading to frequent colds, coughs, flu, glandular fever, etc. (Especially on days off,  weekends and holidays), aches & pains (with no clear cause – this lack of attributability suggests stress as the cause – sometimes diagnosed as fibromyalgia), back pain, chest pains and angina, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, sweating, palpitations, trembling, hormonal problems (disturbed menstrual cycle, dysmenorrhoea, loss of libido, impotence), physical numbness (especially in toes, fingers, and lips), emotional numbness (including anhedonia, an inability to feel joy and love), irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, paruresis (shy bladder syndrome), thyroid problems, petit mal seizures, skin irritations and skin disorders (athlete’s foot, eczema, psoriasis, shingles, internal and external ulcers, urticarial), loss of appetite (although a few people react by overeating), excessive or abnormal thirst, waking up more tired than when you went to bed, etc.
  • Psychological Symptoms – panic attacks, reactive depression (which some people describe as Adjustment Disorder with depressed mood), thoughts of suicide, stress breakdown (this is a psychiatric injury, not a mental illness), forgetfulness, impoverished or intermittently functioning memory, poor concentration, flashbacks and replays, excessive guilt, disbelief and confusion and bewilderment (“why me?” – click here for the answer), an unusual degree of fear, sense of isolation, insecurity, desperation, etc; one experiences acute anxiety at the prospect of meeting the bully or visiting the location where the bullying took place, or at the thought of touching the paperwork associated with the case; one is unable to attend disciplinary meetings and may vomit before, during or after the meeting, sometimes at the thought of the meeting or on receiving a threatening letter insisting one attends (these are PTSD diagnostic criteria B4 and B5).
  • Behavioral Symptoms – tearfulness, irritability, angry outbursts, obsessiveness (the experience takes over your life), hypervigilance (feels like but is not paranoia), hypersensitivity (almost every remark or action is perceived as critical even when it is not), sullenness (a sign the inner psyche has been damaged), mood swings, withdrawal, indecisive, loss of humour, hyperawareness (acute awareness of time, seasons, distance travelled), excessive biting, teeth grinding, picking, scratching or tics, increased reliance on drugs (tannin, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sleeping tablets, tranquillisers, antidepressants, other substances), comfort spending (and consequent financial problems), phobias (especially agoraphobia), etc.
  • Effects on Personality – shattered self-confidence and self-esteem, low self-image, trust issues, loss of self-worth and self-love.

People Who Bully Others:

  • Have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults.
  • Are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to engage in early sexual activity.
  • Are more likely to have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults.  In one study, 60% of boys who bullied others in middle school had a criminal conviction by age 24.
  • Are more likely to be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses or children as adults.

People Who Witness Bullying:

  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
  • Are more likely to miss or skip school.





This video was made by me to raise awareness on the effects of Cyberbullying. ❤


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