Bullying is more dangerous than we thought. A new survey reported that around 50 percent of adolescents who end up in the emergency room one way or another report being bullying or cyberbullying victims. Peer violence is the main cause for visits to the emergency room, poor mental and physical health and suicide thought among adolescents.
Soldiers that come back from war develop a mental disorder called PTSD (a stress disorder that occurs post a traumatic experience). The disorder might also appear in the case of survivors of terrible tragedies like an accident in which some of the members involved died. The main point is that the mental illness is commonly triggered by a very traumatic event or series of events.
Now take a deep breath and imagine the fact that 25 percent of adolescents that end up in the emergency department show definitive symptoms of PTSD. Bullying is more dangerous than we thought and almost a quarter of adolescents experience it.
Since the data was collected from the records of the emergency department, the researchers estimate that the real number of bullied children is much bigger than that. Most of them are afraid of coming forth and taking about their bullying problem because of peer pressure and because they fear possible repercussions from their violent peers.
If children are starting to show PTSD symptoms than bullying is more dangerous than we thought, especially cyber bullying which can be a lot harder to manage.
A team of researchers examined a little over 350 teens that visited the emergency department in a Children’s Hospital. Regardless of the reason that brought them there, the doctors discovered that the adolescents reported PTSD-related symptoms in 23.2 percent of the times. Moreover, 19.9 percent presented symptoms linked to depression and 11.3 actually admitted of having considered suicide as a method of ending the bullying.
Furthermore, 46.5 percent of the adolescents reported to have been the victims of peer violence, 46.7 were affected by cyberbullying and 58.9 percent were exposed to community violence in one way or another.
Megan Ranney, the lead author of the cited study said that adolescents who develop PTSD at such an early age could be exposed to long-term health problems. Ranney explained that the children might end up suffering from a functional impairment on a long-term basis, a poor state of physical health, an increased need for mental health services and academic failure.
The researcher also adds that PTSD can be treated, but the disorder is undertreated, underdiagnosed and underreported. Especially when it comes to adolescents and children.
Bullying is more dangerous than we thought and Ranney urges the doctors to check for PTSD symptoms when a child or adolescent checks into the hospital, regardless if their visit is linked to a traumatic event or not.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org