Consequences of cyberbullying on mental health patients

Consequences of cyberbullying on mental health patients

The unhealthy practice of cyberbullying typically takes place in cyberspace wherein children and adolescents are harassed, threatened, embarrassed or targeted by another person.

Cyberbullying may involve children, young people or adults and can take several forms like cyber harassment, cyberstalking, denigration, exclusion, etc. Due to the involvement of the interpersonal safety issues, it is considered a crime that has legal and punitive ramifications.

Bullying usually starts during relationship difficulties, such as the breakup of a friendship or romance, jealousy over a peer’s success, or increased intolerance toward certain groups on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability.

In the traditional face-to-face bullying, discarded as an unwanted event in schools and colleges, the authorities have tried to build in various checks and balances, such as suspension or banishment of the perpetrators. However, cyberbullying is altogether a different ball game where the anonymity of the perpetrators and easy access to victims through technological means at any given time of the day or night increase safety –and mental health issues.

Cyberbullying has also been on the rise due to the popularity of the internet and social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. With the emergence of innumerable social networking sites (SNSs), the perpetrators now exercise greater control over their victims.

Emotional abuse inflicted by cyberbullying increases risk of mental disorders

Cyberbullying is being identified as a frequent cause of emotional disturbance in children and young people. In fact, it negatively impacts even bystanders. Most of the time, the bullies are from the child’s peer group. In face-to-face bullying, there are eyewitness accounts that lead to the identification of the perpetrators that enable parents and authorities to apprehend the wrongdoers. However, in the case of cyberbullying, there is very little scope for the authorities to take any action. This makes cyberbullying far more dangerous than face-to-face bullying.

According to a research led by the lead author Samantha B Saltz, MD, Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami, Florida, harassment via social media can intensify the existing mental disorders in adolescents. The above study consisted of 50 inpatients at a psychiatric clinic between the ages of 13 and 16 years. The findings were presented at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2017 Annual Meeting. Such studies could be of help in providing guidance to clinicians.

The study showed that those who had been victims of cyberbullying had substantially higher scores in the level of depression, anger and dissociative symptoms than others. Adding to this was the significant link between the history of emotional abuse and cyberbullying victimization. This is relevant because cyberbullying focuses on emotional abuse.

Thus, the bullied children and youngsters are more likely to be depressed, lonely, anxious, etc. Moreover, they tend to have low self-esteem, headaches, stomachaches, tiredness and lack of appetite. As a result, they mostly abstain school, perform poor, and think about suicide or plan to commit suicide. Similar lasting mental health conditions can be seen in the eyewitnesses and bystanders.

The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 16 percent of high school students have been bullied electronically in the past 12 months before the survey.

Seek help for mental disturbance

The slander sent over the internet through various electronic platforms are known by various terms such as, denigration, exclusion, masquerading, outing, harassment, flaming, etc. These forms of cyberstalking quite disruptive and devastative in nature. The impact of cyberbullying include depression, anxiety, loneliness and sadness, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, absenteeism at school and an overall decrease in academic achievement. These problems are too severe to be ignored.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any form of mental health illness, contact the Colorado Mental Health Help representatives who can guide you with information on a wide range of mental health treatment centers in Colorado offering evidence-based treatment. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-899-5063 or chat online with our experts to seek advice on the best mental health rehab in Colorado.