Bullying is a serious problem and it’s effects are going to be seen in a couple of decades, as today’s kids will grow into adults, bearing the scars. There are people who still try to find excuses for this behavior, saying that kids will be kids and so on, but the reality is childhood bullying does leave a mark on the adult to be, which is not a pretty picture.
From cyberbullying to gang stalking, there are many forms of bullying out there and all of them have consequences for the traumatized child. Parents can try to protect their kids from this phenomenon, as you can yet they can prevent bullying completely .
If we look at the numbers, we can see that bullying is more frequent than one would think: up to 28% of all US students were bullyed in school. The victims are usually told to toughen up and get over it, but bullying does leave a mark on the future adult, being more than a funny rite of passage.
Victims of bullying are prone to developing both anxiety and depression.
A study conducted in 2013 proved something already suspected by all the bullyed people: the phenomenon increases your risk of developing depression and anxiety. Victims of bullying are at high risk of developing mental disorders as adults, while the bullies are at high risk of developing antisocial personality disorders.
The victim can suffer from toxic stress
Harvard University researches showed that bullying is one of the causes of toxic stress in kids. Other causes are violence, poverty and a parent’s mental illness, which shows just how severe bullying can be. Toxic stress has a huge negative impact on the child and when it’s not addressed properly, it can leave a mark on the future adult, such as high risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and developmental delays.
Bullying changes the brain’s structure
Bullying has clear physical effects on a teen’s brain structure, according to a study conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.
In boys, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that deals with fear and anxiety, becomes enlarged in victims of bullying. Girls, on the other hand, experience a thinning of the temporal and prefrontal cortexes, which control the social behavior and emotional reactions.
Both of these changes are linked to anxiety in adults and dangerous behavior.
Victims of bullying are more likely to smoke
If you are a smoker, your behavior could be traced back to childhood bullying, according to a study from King’s College London. The same study found that former victims of bullying experienced lower levels of satisfaction, had higher risk of dropping out of college and they are socially isolated.
Bullying can alter your DNA
When you are stressed, the body releases cortisol in the bloodstream, which is one of the stress hormones that triggers the stress reactions of the body. Bullying makes your body produce less and less cortisol, leading to a change in the genes that control the serotonin (happiness hormone) production. In other words, bullying makes your brain prone to depression.
All in one, bullying is not a child’s game, as it can lead to severe consequences for the future adult.