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Bullying And The Effects It Has On The Brain

In more recent years, bullying has been on the mind of us all especially with self starter blogs. I have read multiple articles on the emotional developmental impacts of bullying on young people and I have always wondered what happens to ones brain when they are bullied?

The section in the brain that helps with two important bully-related affairs is the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus because it moderates our fear responses. Take for example, when a small child is threatened or pushed during recess hours, this certain part of the brain goes into hyper drive which either calms them down or signals their fight or flight adrenaline responders. Also with this part of the brain, it plays a role in an individual’s capacity for empathy. In bullying situations it is crucial to try to understand where the bully is coming from or to learn certain social boundaries and guidelines.

Also the Amygdala responds to environmental emotional stimuli and helps individual’s deal with stress.

The Effects Bullying Has On The Brain:

When certain areas of the brain are over-active due to continuous bullying or fear of being threatened in social situations, the brain does not develop or function properly. Teens can become more impulsive, aggressive and permanently anxious when there is an overactive stress response system in their Amygdala due to continuous bullying.

Studies have proven that when children have suffered from psychological abuse they have 40% smaller Corpus Callosums which leads to deranged shifts in moods, trouble with social intelligence and also makes it more difficult for teens to process what is going on around them and allow them to respond correctly.

Studies have also shown that there is a decrease in blood flow to the Cerebellar Vermin in the brain stem which can cause certain impairments. When you have less blood flow in this area it means depression, irritability and impaired attention spans.

Permanent stress is also what many victims describe when they have been bullied during school hours and it also causes increased release of Norepinephrine. When an individual is under stress, this can lead them to permanent anxiety or the inability to think clearly on a daily basis.

So, what do these effects of bullying to the brain have on us? Well, first it of course, I hope gives us more motivation to implement and build anti-bullying strategies within schools. It also allows us to know that there is a reason why bullying can alter a child’s moods or emotional states after an incident happens. We as adults need to work together to prevent bullying, but also give the time and space to teens to let their emotions, self-esteem and brain to properly recover from bullying situations.

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