The issue of bullying in schools has garnered national attention, but less attention has been paid to the physical toll that bullying can take on both the victim and the child who is bullying another person.
However, as more reports of illness start to appear in areas where bullying is rife, parents and caretakers are starting to take note of how bullying can affect all aspects of a child’s life.
Physical and Mental Symptoms
The mental anguish that bullying causes has been well-established by professionals. Now, public health officials are starting to document the physical side effects that bullying has on children and young people.
Common symptoms include:
These symptoms can be a bodily response to the stress that both the victim and the perpetrator experience from day to day. Their tendency to appear all at once is what has raised alarm bells for therapists, educators, health workers and childcare specialists.
The effects that bullying can have on a young person’s health will have an impact on their wider social group and even their community.
Their productivity suffers due to the illness they are experiencing. They may miss a large amount of school, which can lead to lower grades. In addition, a child’s sense of self-esteem may also be affected.
Both bullies and their victims may turn to emotional eating habits as a means of “self-treating” their illness. This can range from compulsive overeating to deliberate restriction of food intake. Again, these habits can lead to serious health problems that can affect the ability of the child to function in society.
All of these issues can cause problems well into adulthood.
The effects of bullying do not stop as soon as a child leaves school. The emotional trauma of being bullied can cause physical and mental illness for years to come. They may grow into adults who cannot perform well in their professional and personal lives.
If schools and educational institutions need another good reason for standing up to instances of bullying, then the fact that it poses a risk to public health and productivity should spur them into action.
By taking action now, the adverse health risks of bullying can be reduced and both bullies and bullying victims can go on to have healthy and productive lives.