Learn the Effects of Bullying That Lead to Substance Abuse

20 percent of students have reported bullying at one point or another. Out of the student population, 22.8 percent of girls get bullied compared to 18.8 percent of boys.

Bullying can have deeper damage on children and teens than we know. Not only will these children suffer from depression and anger, but bullying can also lead to substance abuse.

Read on to learn more about the effects of bullying.

How Each Role is Connected to Substance Abuse

Although bullies and victims both play different roles, they’re both vulnerable to substance abuse.

Substance Abuse and Bullies

Although bullies might appear strong, they can have many issues beneath the surface. Bullies tend to suffer from low self-esteem and they resort to bullying to give themselves more confidence. They constantly have to put others down to elevate their confidence.

When these efforts fail, bullies turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with any other mental health problems they deal with.

Victims and Substance Abuse

Although it might not always be the case, victims of bullying sometimes have pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Bullying can exacerbate these conditions.

As a result of bullying, children tend to remove themselves from social situations, friends, and even family members.

Due to the feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety, victims will turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to numb all of the negative feelings.

What Are the Risk Factors of Bullying and Substance Abuse?

If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to predict the extent of the risk that bullying can lead to substance abuse, the answer is yes. Bullying and substance abuse have more in common than you think.

The roots can trace back to social life, personality, family life, environmental factors, and aggression.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is the number one risk factor that bullied children and teenagers face.  A young person will be more likely to get involved with substance abuse if those around them do.

This is true for teens who have a hard time socializing and connecting with their peers. In an effort to gain acceptance from their peers and stop the bullying they might fall into the cycle of substance abuse.

Lack of Parental Support

Not having proper parental support is a huge substance abuse risk factor. Children who don’t connect with their parents or lack supervision are more likely to become bullies, get bullied, or turn to substances for support.

Children who don’t feel like they can talk to their parents about bullying often resort to substance abuse as a way to seek comfort.

The same is true for teens and children whose parents are inconsistent with their discipline. They might feel like they can get away with everything.

Personal Traits

It’s important to also pay attention to the behavior that leads to bullying. Aggression is a personal trait that most parents can recognize in their children early on in their development.

If this behavior is not addressed from an early age, it can have consequences in the future. Children who show signs of aggression are more likely to harass and bully their classmates or start abusing drugs and alcohol.

Lack of School Enthusiasm

Children who lack the enthusiasm for school and learning are also at risk of bullying and substance abuse.

When a child does well in school, it brings many types of recognition from parents, teachers, and peers. It sets them apart and gives them something positive to focus on such as working on a project, preparing for a competition or making future plans.

Lack of school enthusiasm has the opposite effect. Students with poor academic performance tend to engage in more destructive behavior such as bullying and substance abuse.

Environment

The environment is a crucial risk factor for a young person. Young people who grow up in environments ridden with violence, crime rates, and substance abuse are more likely to follow down the same path.

Children developing in a toxic environment are more likely to suffer from bullying, bully, or go down the substance abuse path.

Traits of Bullying Victims

Across the boards, the traits of bullying victims are quite similar. Victims often display signs of social awkwardness, severe emotional stress, inability to cope with emotions, and lack of trust.

Social Awkwardness

Young people who identify themselves as socially awkward and cannot fit in, are often more vulnerable to bullying.

Since they have a few or no friends, it makes them a bigger target for bullies. Their isolation can increase the frequency of their victimization.

Emotional Stress

Children and teens who are bully-victims tend to suffer more emotional stress than non-victims. The stress as a result of bullying leads to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD, and suicide.

Lack of Trust

Since they’re in a constant state of awareness, children who get bullied are more likely to bring a gun to school.

Due to their constant bullying, victims might feel like they can’t trust anyone.

Inability to Cope with Emotions

As a way to cope with bullying, victims might not always have control of their emotions. Often, these children behave in a way that causes others to keep bullying them.

Victims might take their anger out on those who don’t bully them, which hurts their inability to make friends.

The Connection Between the Two

The damage of bullying can have irreparable emotional damage to their victims. Victims of bullying turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with suffering. In fact, those students who experienced verbal bullying in middle school are three times more likely to turn to alcohol than non-victims.

Let’s not also forget that bullies are emotionally damaged individuals. Bullies are also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than their non-bully classmates.

In a study conducted by Ohio State University, 11.4 percent of middle school bullies used marijuana. In contrast, only 1.6 percent of non-bullies used marijuana.

Effects of Bullying and Substance Abuse: The Bottom Line

The effects of bullying can have an irreparable negative impact in the life of a person. It can lead to depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.

Are you or a loved one dealing with substance abuse and are ready to get help? You don’t have to do this alone.

Contact us to talk to a counselor.

References

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

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    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

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    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

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    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
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    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

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    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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