AUGUST 24TH, 2015

42851807_sI have counseled plenty of children over the years who have been the victims of childhood bullying. Now, a new study says that childhood bullying has effects that last long into adulthood. I came across an article this week that says, “Research is now attempting to understand why victims of childhood bullying are at risk of poorer outcomes in adulthood, not only for psychological health, but also physical health, cognitive functioning and quality of life.”

Bullying comes in many forms, but intimidation, teasing and the threat of violence are often involved. The article in references studies by the US Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) that said that the most common types of bullying are verbal and social:

  • Name calling – 44.2% of cases
  • Teasing – 43.3%
  • Spreading rumors or lies – 36.3%
  • Pushing or shoving – 32.4%
  • Hitting, slapping or kicking – 29.2%
  • Leaving out – 28.5%
  • Threatening – 27.4%
  • Stealing belongings – 27.3%
  • Sexual comments or gestures – 23.7%
  • Email or blogging – 9.9%

In children, it has been shown that persistent bullying can lead to depression and anxiety. These disorders are often why parents finally call me. The bullying itself may go away with intervention from parents and school administrators, but the scars are deep and can last a lifetime.

In a study in the UK in 2014, “researchers found, at age 50, participants who had been bullied when they were children were more likely to be in poorer physical and psychological health and have worse cognitive functioning than people who had not been bullied.”

The study also said that “Victims of bullying were also found to be more likely to be unemployed, earn less and have lower educational levels than people who had not been bullied. They were also less likely to be in a relationship or have good social support. People who had been bullied were more likely to report lower quality of life and life satisfaction than their peers who had not been bullied.”

In working with children of bullying, I find that many of these kids suffer from severe anxiety with features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and often, suicidal ideation. These children may find that they will need to seek counseling for an extended period to learn to handle their anxiety and depression. Psychotherapy is the treatment of choice and, in some cases, medication is necessary. These children also may find that they will need to seek counseling throughout their life to learn to handle their anxiety and depression. For many, lifestyle changes and talking about their childhood experiences with bullying will help. Sadly in some cases medication will be necessary. The sooner a child begins to deal with their bullying the better the outcome.

Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.


Originally available here