How Does Bullying Affect The Mental Health Of Those Being Bullied?
MoodRx Clinical Staff - 2024-03-16

How Does Bullying Affect The Mental Health Of Those Being Bullied?

How Does Bullying Affect The Mental Health Of Those Being Bullied?

Bullying, whether it occurs in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, can have significant and long-lasting effects on an individual's mental health. The repeated exposure to negative actions from peers or adults can lead to a variety of mental health issues. Here is a comprehensive list of the most common mental health issues experienced by individuals being bullied:

  1. Depression: Victims of bullying often experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. Depression can be a direct result of the chronic stress and lowered self-esteem caused by bullying.
  2. Anxiety Disorders: Bullying can lead to various forms of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic attacks, characterized by excessive worry, fear of social situations, and intense fearfulness or terror.
  3. Low Self-esteem: Constant criticism, humiliation, and exclusion can significantly impact an individual's self-esteem, leading them to view themselves negatively.
  4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Individuals who have been subjected to severe bullying may experience PTSD, reliving their trauma through flashbacks and nightmares, and may feel on edge or anxious long after the bullying has ceased.
  5. Social Withdrawal and Isolation: To avoid being bullied, individuals may withdraw from social interactions and activities, leading to isolation and loneliness.
  6. Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors: The distress and hopelessness caused by bullying can lead some individuals to contemplate or attempt suicide.
  7. Self-Harm: Some individuals may resort to self-harming behaviors as a coping mechanism to deal with the emotional pain caused by bullying.
  8. Substance Use Disorders: Victims of bullying may turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to escape their feelings of pain, loneliness, or anxiety.
  9. Sleep Disturbances: Anxiety and stress from bullying can lead to problems with falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing nightmares.
  10. Eating Disorders: Bullying, especially if it involves comments about weight or body shape, can contribute to the development of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder.
  11. Somatic Symptoms: Chronic stress from bullying can manifest in physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, and muscle tension, without a clear medical cause.
  12. Anger and Aggression: Some individuals may respond to bullying with anger and aggression, either directed towards others or internalized.


Addressing the mental health issues caused by bullying involves a supportive approach that includes counseling or therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), to help the victim process their experiences and develop coping strategies. Family support, school interventions, and in some cases, medication, may also be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. It's crucial to create a safe environment for the individual to express their feelings and experiences and to work towards building their self-esteem and resilience.