How does school bullying affect a child's brain?

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Aggressive persecution by a team of one person is called bullying. Bullying is particularly common in adolescents, but can also occur in adulthood. Recent research suggests that bullying affects hundreds of millions of children and adolescents worldwide. In some cases, the effects of bullying are felt after years and even decades. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) have recognized bullying as a global problem. Researchers agree, however, that our understanding of the effects of bullying on the brain and mental health is still limited.

Bullying can occur at any age and team


1 How is bullying?
2 Who is affected by mobbing?
3 episodes of bullying
4 How does bullying affect the brain?
5 How do I deal with bullying?

How does bullying occur?

Harassment manifests itself in repetitive and deliberate verbal, physical and antisocial behavior. If you make fun of others, you want to intimidate them, cause damage, is often referred to as a marginal phenomenon. This is because he sees the goal as weak or very different.

Harassment is particularly prevalent in school

Common forms of bullying in infants are abusive language and physical impairment. This behavior can become more complex with age. Sometimes this behavior develops into bullying outside the school walls and continues on social networks.

Who is bullying?

In fact, bullying can occur at any age and in any society that is random – a team at work, at a university, or at a school. There are many types and criteria of bullying, but psychologists consider emotional vulnerability to be the most prevalent. The more a person being persecuted shows weakness in responding to insults, the more provoked the offender. In other words, if you respond emotionally to insults, give the offender what he wants.

Many adults experience bullying at work

Scientists find that bullying in children and adults is no different – and that the same mechanisms and criteria are based on the principle of dissimilarity or vulnerability. However, the persecution is spontaneous, so it's pretty hard to track exactly when it started.

The consequences of bullying

Among those who experienced bullying in their teens, about 10-15% were regularly harassed – bullying can take more than six months. The experiences associated with this attitude to oneself become the reason for poor performance in school and university and have a negative impact on the chances of finding a job in the future. Needless to say, bullying more often than others suffers from depression, anxiety and stress, and is also suicidal.

For more information about the effect of stress on the body, visit our channel in Yandex.Zen.

How does bullying affect the brain?

Over the past 10 years, scientists have begun to pay more attention to the effects of bullying on their health. In general, we can say that the body reacts to bullying as acute stress. An article published last December in the journal Molecular Psychiatry highlights another area of ​​research: brain architecture. Injuries due to prolonged, repeated baiting may affect the structure of the brain, according to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) collected by an international group at King's College London. The results confirm the results of previous studies that showed similar changes in children and adults who were abused at a young age.

Bullying can sometimes cause injury.

According to Tracy Weilancourt, a clinical psychologist at the University of Ottawa, changes in the structure and chemical composition of the brain clearly show how destructive and dangerous bullying is. Weilancourt hopes with colleagues that there will be many more such studies in the future. Ultimately, scientists believe that the data obtained can be used to justify policy decisions and take the necessary measures to combat bullying.

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A previous study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2010 also reported abnormalities in certain areas of the brain that have been linked to reports of verbal abuse. Neurobiologists find that the brain is plastic throughout our lives. Thanks to the neuroplasticity, we continue to learn and the environment shapes our behavior. It is not surprising that bullying affects not only mental health but also brain function.

How do I deal with bullying?

Fighting bullying alone is not easy. Experts therefore advise first to seek help. In severe cases, the best solution may be to change your place of residence, work or study. However, according to scientists, neutrality is the most important method of combating bullying. All cases of bullying work in a similar way – the offender is waiting for a response and the more emotional she is, the better. Therefore, it is necessary to stay calm and not show your weakness. Such behavior can result in the offender's interest simply disappearing.

The main thing is not to show the offender that you are offended by his words and deeds

Experts also advise not to neglect the force of law. In some cases, especially if bullying causes physical harm, you should protect your rights by contacting law enforcement agencies.

Have you ever experienced bullying? Share hooligan fighting stories in the comments and in our telegram chat.