One of the biggest fears of any modern day mum or dad, is the possibility of their kids being bullied at school or online. Study after study has shown us that bullying has long-term consequences we never suspected (including an increased risk for heart disease), yet a new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, has established that exposure to bullying can also cause major mental health issues such as anxiety, years down the track.
Researchers noted that although children are highly resilient, more support may be needed than we originally thought, since anxiety and other mental illnesses can not only wrest from their quality of life, but also contribute to the development of other diseases, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Study Sheds New Light on Bullying and Mental Conditions
Previous research had already shown that children who were bullied were more likely to suffer from stress related conditions (such as depression and anxiety) later in life. However, prior to the new study mentioned above, there was little evidence that bullying was the actual cause of these conditions. The new study involved over 11,100 twins, with results showing that once environmental and other factors were taken out of the equation, bullying did, indeed, give rise to poorer mental health outcomes.
A Silver Lining on the Cloud of Bullying
The researchers stressed that there is much to be positive about, despite their findings. For one, the impact that bullying has on children’s mental health diminishes over time – which highlights how sturdy children are. However, the findings also show that more needs to be done to support children who are bullied, to minimise the impact of traumatic events, and to help children deal with stress in a more productive manner.
Parents should be aware that the treatment can be affordable or free, and can consist of 100% natural treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy, often complemented by natural stress relieving techniques (such as breathing and mindfulness) to lower stress hormone levels, greatly boost children’s confidence, and help them feel more in control of their body and mind.
What are Signs that Kids Could be Affected by Bullying?
Signs are sometimes very subtle, so it is important for parents to watch out for frequent headaches, unexplained muscle pain, digestive problems, changes in weight, and frequent illness. It is important for children to feel that they can talk about their problems at home, so parents can help put an end to victimisation and ensure that their children have professional support if required.
Recent studies have finally revealed that bullying in itself is actually a cause of a heightened risk for anxiety and depression later in life. While negative effects are reduced as time goes on, help from a psychologist may be useful to give children an extra boost against any possible long-term effects of bullying.