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Trauma Caused by Bullying

By December 20, 2018April 21st, 2022Blog

There’s been much more attention paid to the consequences of bullying in recent years. The focus is often prompted by another teen choosing suicide, sometimes called “bullycide,” rather than continuing to endure the torment.

Every year, nearly 4,400 young people commit suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Half of those deaths were linked to the actions of bullies.

However, the scale of the problem is reflected by the reported number of 160,000 kids staying home from school each day because of harassment and bullying. It’s been estimated that as many as three out of four students are mentally, verbally or physically bullied during a given school year.

Complex PTSD

There has been far less reporting of the long-term trauma faced by the survivors. They carry the scars as they grow to adulthood. However, bullies also become adults, and often continue to prey on others in the workplace and elsewhere. Bullying-induced trauma can occur at any age and have long-lasting consequences, especially an increased risk of PTSD.

Complex PTSD refers to a victim who believes they are trapped in their situation. Anyone, especially a child, who is regularly tormented by bullies may not see any escape from their situation. Cyber-bullying can almost instantly escalate the pressure on a victim with widely shared emails, videos and across social media platforms. Many bullies take advantage of internet anonymity to attack viciously and continually.

Children may find that if they report the bullies to school administrators that the situation could become worse. Adults may not report bullies to supervisors or HR because they also believe it will not help, but cause more trouble. Adult or child, victims with Complex PTSD believe themselves to be trapped in a nightmare with no way out. The stress mounts to unbearable levels.

Signs of Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD is similar to PTSD with a few key differences. A person’s basic sense of who they are or their core identity becomes distorted. Their behavior and moods become unpredictable. Maintaining healthy relationships becomes very difficult.

There are many symptoms of Complex PTSD that can include:

  • Behavior that is unusual and completely out of character or inappropriate
  • Sudden physical ailments that prevents someone from going to school or work
  • Difficulty in concentrating; performance issues at work or school
  • Trouble sleeping, including nightmares
  • Withdrawal from life and depression
  • Violent temper
  • A high degree of anxiety
  • An extreme awareness of their surroundings, resulting in extreme fatigue

Early Intervention and Treatment is Important

In Norway, 963 teens were studied for signs of PTSD. Researchers found signs of PTSD in approximately one out of three children who had been bullied, with more girls than boys being affected. They found that the children’s behavior and mental health was significantly affected by past bullying in which the children felt themselves powerless to prevent.

PTSD, including Complex PTSD, can appear years after being bullied. PTSD is often associated with military veterans, but a bullied child can display many of the same symptoms as a combat vet both as a child and in later life.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is an innovative, evidence-based therapy for PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress and similar mental health issues. Initially, the therapy was primarily used to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One of the major advantages is the speed at which ART is able to bring relief. Normally, only five sessions are needed, not months or years of expensive psychiatric treatment.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy works by reprogramming the trauma memories that are preventing you from enjoying the full life they deserve. The techniques work equally well on bullying victims, combat vets and others.

It is important for loved ones to intervene as soon as possible on behalf of someone being bullied. Don’t let bullies from your past continue to control your life. Contact ART to learn more about bullying trauma or to find a therapist near you.