Victims of bullying at risk of depression, long-term anxiety disorders

Victims of bullying at risk of depression, long-term anxiety disorders


Victims of bullying at risk of depression, long-term anxiety disorders _


Experts in mental health have advocated for more concentrated measures to stop bullying in children, warning that it can lead to a variety of mental health issues in adulthood.


According to the experts, even though childhood bullying is often ignored by many parents, it has a serious long-term effect on children. 


Bullying, they claimed, often manifests in adulthood through poor social behaviours, anxiety problems, substance abuse, and trouble forming friendships and relationships when it is not treated properly in childhood.


The experts also recommended parents to intervene when their children bully their peers, stressing that bullies are more likely to participate in domestic violence in adulthood.


According to a 2017 study published by the Canadian Centre of Science and Education titled ‘The Impact of School Bullying On Students’ Academic Achievement’, bullying at school affects academic achievement since bullied children feel fear and weak, and at the same time, it affects students’ personality traits and self-confidence.


Bullied students are often unable to follow or pay attention to their studies, and they may dislike going to school, according to the study report.


The experts highlighted in separate interviews with PUNCH Health Wise that it is now critical for society to address bullying, saying that the harmful effects of childhood bullying have long-term mental health consequences.


They claimed that combating childhood bullying is not just about protecting the tormented children, but also about taming the bullies.


Childhood bullying, according to mental health experts, occurs when a child intentionally hurts, belittles, demeans, upsets, or threatens another child.


One of the experts, Dr. Chinwe Obinwa, a Consultant Psychiatrist, explained to our reporter that bullying is typically recurrent and persistent.


"There is frequently a perceived imbalance of power between the child who bullies and the child who is bullied."


"There is no specific reason why bullying occurs," she added, "but if a child is perceived as weaker or different in any manner, they are more likely to be bullied."


Apart from verbal, physical, emotional and cyberbullying, the Consultant Psychiatrist with Green Oaks Consulting stated that encouraging, colluding, watching and joining the child involved in bullying is also a form of bullying.


Obinwa further said that some of the casual behaviours that Nigerians have adopted could be construed as bullying.


She said that what is known as 'yabbing' could be a form of bullying. "It happens a lot in our society. It's commonly referred to as 'yabbing.' She clarified that this is not to be mistaken with friendly banter or even a feud between friends and colleagues.


According to Obinwa, the trauma of being bullied can last throughout a child's adult life. Bullying has an impact on a child's social, emotional, and psychological development.


Bullying victims, she said, are at risk for substance abuse, chronic depression, and trouble forming meaningful social relationships.


"Short-term effects include frequent headaches, stomach aches, anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, sleep disturbances, feelings of humiliation, and poor school performance," according to the study.


"It's important to note that bullying has an effect on the bully as well." In the short term, the bully faces an increased risk of truancy, poor academic performance, and substance abuse. Bullies may have difficulty maintaining social ties.


"Longer-term effects include increased risk of perpetrating of domestic violence against a spouse or kid, as well as substance abuse and other antisocial behaviours."


Pamela Udoka, a clinical psychologist, believes that parents should establish communication channels with their children so that they may speak up when they are being bullied.


Udoka, the lead therapist at Family Wellness Therapy Centre, believes that creating an environment where parents and children may have random gist will encourage children to give such information if they are bullied.


"If you and your child can't have a general random gist, there's a high chance that the child won't disclose information when he or she is being bullied."


“Parents have to first cultivate the habit of having general random gist with their children. If the culture does not exist, the parent has to be observant.”


She also advised parents to keep an eye on their children's eating and sleeping patterns, adding that a sudden change in the pattern could signal how the child is being treated at school.







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