If I asked everyone reading this article to raise their hand if they’ve ever been bullied, it’s likely that every person would. Whether you were bullied as a child in school or later in life as an adult, the odds are it’s happened at least once. Even worse, more and more bullies turn to cyber-bullying, allowing them to remain anonymous if they so choose. Bullying takes on many forms, from the more obvious physical violence and vocal abuse to the more subtle, like a biting comment on an online article.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Not only is it important to stop bullying because of the emotional effects, but the physical effects it can have on its victims and, surprisingly, those who do the bullying themselves. Bullying can cause a number of health problems that may go unnoticed or be attributed to something else. So what are these physical ramifications of bullying?
New research has shown that children who are bullied are twice as likely to experience psychosomatic symptoms like headaches, stomach aches and bed wetting. Though the symptoms may not have a direct health-related cause, they shouldn’t be taken any less seriously. The anxiety of being bullied has caused the symptoms, even if the child is not actually sick. More obvious health risks of bullying are the injuries received through physical bullying. Though no injury should be taken lightly, there are cases where bullying is so severe the injuries require medical attention.
Bullying can also lead to anxiety, depression, irritability and trouble sleeping. These symptoms can appear in both the aggressor and the victim which shows that while the victims of bullying certainly have a worse time of it; bullies are negatively impacted by their behavior as well.
The best way to prevent bullying is by having conversations about it at home. Take the time to discuss the differences in others and how to accept them. Often, bullying behavior is modeled from parent to child, so demonstrating acceptance of others can go a long way towards ending bullying. Further, encourage people, especially children, to speak out if they’ve been bullied. Doing so can prevent more bullying and put a stop to the detrimental health effects.