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Can Bullying Lead to Addiction?

teen discusses bullying experiences with counselor

While bullying has always been a part of American culture, only recently have we begun to recognize the serious and lasting repercussions of this behavior.  One study found that as much as 90% of elementary students report being bullied at least once. As children grow into teens, bullying may happen less often, but when it does, it is can be far more severe.  Bullying comes in many different forms including verbal harassment, physical assault, cyber-bullying, and social isolation. Bullying does not only harm the victim, but also increases the risk of mental illness and substance abuse for both the target and the child doing the bullying.   As a parent, it is important to look for signs in your child that may indicate they are being bullied, or perhaps doing the bullying.  A child or teen that is suddenly performing poorly in school, has unexplained injuries, attempts to skip class or school days entirely, or seems to be isolating themselves may be experiencing bullying.  Additionally, if a student seems to be becoming more aggressive, gets into multiple fights at school, and has trouble taking responsibility for their actions, they may be participating in bullying behavior.  Many parents and caregivers mistakenly assume that bullying is a normal part of childhood and adolescence, and that children and teens will work it out on their own. Unfortunately, bullying behavior usually requires adult intervention to resolve, and without help, both the bully and the victim are at risk. Studies have shown that children and teens who are bullied suffer serious emotional harm, and may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their pain and isolation.  Bullies themselves are more likely to spend time with other aggressive and rebellious peers, which may lead to an increased exposure to substances. Regardless of which side of bullying a child is on, adult intervention, and possibly professional guidance, is necessary to find a healthy resolution.  Teens that may be developing a substance use disorder as a result of bring bullied or bullying others should seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent serious life-altering consequences.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and mental illness, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.