Anxiety Disorders Among Victims of Bullying
As most of us already know, bullying can be a very traumatic experience for the victims.
The distress and pain caused by bullying affects almost every aspect of the victim’s life, and leaves them feeling alone, isolated and vulnerable.
The effects of bullying on the victim are long lasting. Many times, those who are being bullied may develop depression, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and sometimes, even anxiety.
According to research, the top 4 kinds of anxiety that victims of bullying experience are: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder.
1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a mental health condition that is developed after a terrifying or traumatic event in one’s life. The condition may last months or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions.
A study examining mental health in college students found experiencing bullying to be the strongest predictor of developing PTSD symptoms. It even surpassed physical abuse, neglect, and exposure to community violence.
2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAD is a common anxiety disorder that involves constant and chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Unlike a phobia, where your fear is connected to a specific thing or situation, the anxiety of GAD is diffused — a general feeling of dread or unease that colors your whole life.
3. Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder, sometimes referred to as social phobia, is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings. People with this disorder have trouble talking to people, meeting new people, and attending social gatherings. They fear being judged or scrutinized by others. Being bullied and being constantly judged and criticized can lead to the victim having social anxiety. Due to the fear that everyone may judge them in the same way they once were, they will have trouble socializing with others. Several studies have also investigated the relationship between peer victimization and social anxiety, and they found that victims of different forms of peer victimization (physical, verbal, and relational) showed higher levels of social anxiety.
4. Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which the person experiences panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror. They may also include physical symptoms like faster heartbeat and hyperventilation. Victims of bullying, especially those who may have been physically victimized, can develop Panic Disorder. They may start to flinch and have a panic attack whenever someone looks like they might hit or harm them.
As we can see, bullying has many adverse effects on one’s mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek professional help. A counselor may be able to help you a great deal.
You may also find it helpful to develop healthy coping strategies. For example, engaging in an activity like drawing, painting, writing, dancing, listening to music or meditation may help you release stress. Apart from these, sometimes you may find even just talking to someone about what you are going through a good outlet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shwetha is a high school student passionate about advocacy, music and fashion. She loves expressing her feelings in the form of written words and aims to use her voice to help everyone who is going through something tough.