Bullying Linked To Substance Use

The adolescent years can be a chaotic time. There are a lot of changes happening, especially for those in high school. Navigating the waters of one’s place in the teenage world can be a source of discomfort and angst—which can be extremely difficult for some to cope with as they mature and become young adults. Such matters can be complicated by how one is treated by their peers.

In the United States, we often hear shocking news stories about adolescents who have been bullied by their peers. Sadly, such cases often end tragically. Victims will often turn to drugs and alcohol in order to cope with their feelings—or worse—victims of bullying will opt for a permanent solution to a temporary problem (i.e. suicide). Preventing unnecessary loss of life involving minors is of the utmost importance, anything that can be done to mitigate the chance of suicidal ideations is crucial.

As September comes to a close, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that September is the National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. According to The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. The more we talk about suicide, the sooner we will break the stigma of reaching out for help. We can all have a part in encouraging people to seek help, whether for untreated mental illness which is often connected to youth suicide, or to seek help for those who are being harmed by others—such as bullies. NAMI would like people to use the hashtags #suicideprevention or #StigmaFree on social media.

National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Over the course of October there will be several events geared towards preventing bullying and helping those who are being bullied. During National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, both schools and organizations are encouraged to work together to “stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages.” The campaign is STOMP Out Bullying™.

It is possible that you may think that bullying is an isolated incident, or that it is just a part of growing up. Unfortunately, abuse from one’s peers is more pervasive than you might think and occurs all across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that:

  • 16% of high school students reported being bullied on school property.
  • An estimated 30% of high school students reported being bullied electronically.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research showed that both the victims and the bully are at risk of serious problems, issues that can dramatically affect the course of one’s life. The research indicated that:

“Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, and even death. Victimized youth are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood.”

Does Someone In Your Family Need Help

It could be that you have a teenage child struggling in high school or a young adult child who is not adjusting well to college life. Have you considered if they are victims of bullying or perhaps they are the bully? There are warning signs for both situations, such as: the victim may continually lose clothing, books, electronics or jewelry; while the bully may frequently have extra money or new items they cannot account for. To learn more about warning signs, you can visit stopbullying.gov.

Family Recovery Specialists works with teens and young adults, often with those who have co-occurring disorders resulting from bullying. Feel free to reach out to us with your questions.

Tap to GET HELP NOW: (855) 251-0493