liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Being Bullied Permanently Changes a Person

notes from an article in the Boston Globe by Emily Anthes
Inside the bullied brain; The alarming neuroscience of taunting

(I already knew this but it is good to see that science is catching up.)
emotional cruelty-->brain damage
not just "feelings" are hurt: bullying changes the brain of a teen, alter hormones, change neuronal growth
bullied kids more likely to be depressed, anxious, suicidal, truant, drug users, in fights, carry weapons
brain damage similar to that of kids who are physically or sexually abused in early childhoood

science on effects of emotional/verbal abuse by Martin Teicher
neuroscientist at McLean Hospital in Belmont
studied pts verbally abused by a parent, n=1000 young adults
finding: "verbal abuse could be as damaging to psychological functioning as the physical kind"
next examined those whod been teased, ridiculed, criticized, screamed and sworn at by peers
(no hx of parental abuse)
bullied-->more depression, anxiety, and other psych
just as damaging to mental health as emotional abuse by parents
published in July in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
also scanned brains, n=63 young adults
mistreated by their peers==>observable abnormalities in the corpus callosum, less myelin
mb causing cognitive probs

Tracy Vaillancourt
psychologist at the University of Ottawa
12-year-olds incl some w hx of being victimized by peers
assessed their fx ea 6mo
torment-->incr cortisol (big surprise there)
2008 paper published in Aggressive Behavior
boys occasionally bullied have higher cortisol levels, bullied girls have abnormally low cortisol ??? really?
are the girls already adrenally fatigued at age 12??
incr cort-->suppressed immune sys, may damage/kill neurons in hippocampus-->poor memory
next: MRI brains of 16-17 yo kids to see what has happened to hippocampus

animal research on psychosocial stress effects
Daniel A. Peterson
neuroscientist at the Chicago Medical School
put young, subordinate rat in a cage belonging to a much larger, older, more aggressive rat
bullying began immediately, they let it go to the point of biting, then rescue before serious injury
2007 paper in Journal of Neuroscience: a single bullying session left a mark on the smaller rat's brain
measured rate of neurogenesis in hipoocampus:
bullied rats made same number of new neurons but very high % die before maturing

Tags: abuse, adolescence, anxiety, brain, cortisol, depression, emotion, family, hormones, language, memory, stress

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