What is the Impact of Bullying?
Bullying isn’t an isolated event that one can just “get over” as they grow up. Instead, bullying tends to have both a short and long-term impact on the lives of so many. This includes the individual getting bullied, the bully, those witnessing the event, and those individuals who are both the bully and who get bullied themselves.
Bullying can impact the mental health of these individuals, leading some to possibly withdraw from family and friends, others who may develop depression, or some who may even misuse substances as a way to not feel the emotional pain brought on by bullying.
If you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, as well as a co-occurring mental illness, you’re not alone. There are resources available to help. As a nationwide leader in addiction treatment, American Addiction Centers (AAC) provides medical detox, treatment in a safe environment, and aftercare planning. Please reach out to get the help that you need.
Consequences for Bullying
Being bullied makes an individual feel insecure, whether someone is actively bullying them at the time or not. The anticipation of being bullied can weigh heavily on an individual who has grown accustomed to being bullied.
Consequences/impact of bullying:
- Somatic symptoms. Somatic symptoms are relevant to the individual who is bullied. They are emotional effects that are expressed as physical symptoms that begin as an emotional condition or stress. Gastrointestinal issues, sleep disorders, chronic pain, palpitations, and headaches are common anxiety or stress-related symptoms.
- Physical health. Physical consequences of bullying may include long-term effects such as sleep disturbances or headaches or immediate consequences such as a physical injury like a broken arm. The caveat is that the long-term physical effects of bullying can be a challenge to identify and associate with bullying behavior from the past as opposed to other causes of negative childhood events or anxiety.
- Social pain. Social pain is characterized by the “feelings of pain that follow the experience of peer rejection, ostracism, or loss.” Social pain is how individuals describe how they feel about being bullied.
Bullying can possibly lead to childhood traumatic stress, which happens when traumatic events overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope.
How educators can help:
- Allow students and their families to have a choice, to let their voices be heard, and give them the freedom to feel empowered.
- Decrease trauma-related triggers at school.
- Educate staff about trauma and the effects that it causes.
- Promote emotional and physical safety in both the school environment and within relationships.
- Take trauma into consideration when assessing and with protocol behavior plans.
Bullying, substance and alcohol misuse, and co-occurring mental illnesses such as depression are nothing to take lightly. Help and resources are available. If you find yourself battling with alcohol use disorder or substance use order, please reach out for the help that you need today.