January 26, 2012 Jeanne Rust

Does Bullying Cause Eating Disorders?

Did kids or siblings call you names when you were little?

Did you have stomachaches and begin to develop an eating disorder including bulimia when you were in school?
Did people beat you up after school?

Did you answer yes to any of these questions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to know that bullying leads to children's eating disorders or other dysfunctional behaviors. More and more children are finding they need treatment for an eating disorder who are younger than 12.

Bullying is dangerous and can even lead to suicide. The internet has exposed the terrible truth about the effects of bullying. Remember, Phoebe Green, who hung herself at age 15 because of cyber bullying.

Only recently have we as health care professionals begun to look at the seriousness of bullying particularly after reported teenage suicides. Does your child use the internet? If so, be alert. Know that the internet has exposed the terrible truth about the effects of bullying, severe enough to drive some kids to self-harm or suicide.

Bullying effects millions of students but parents and teachers don't understand the serious outcomes. When professionals or parents tell kids to ignore teasing, or to just get on with it, this not the kind of advice or understanding they need.

What does bullying looks like?

1. Emotional or verbal abuse looks like "Fatty fatty two by four, can't get thru the kitchen door" or Piggy, piggy!
2. "Hey Jew boy."
3. Cyber abuse is on Facebook where everyone from your school can see it.
4. Cruel emails can be sent from anywhere.

A person can be picked on by an individual or group with more power. Someone with more power may be peers, older kids, even teachers or parents. Bullies choose their victims because they look different, have a different religion, or are disabled. Bullies pick on a person simply because the person is shy or is gay or is a lesbian.

We must never forget that bullying is a severe form of abuse, i.e. emotional abuse, verbal and sexual abuse. Being excluded socially is a form of abuses. Verbal bullying, cruel email, or cyber-bullying (posting insults online) are forms of abuse.

Bullying like most forms of abuse is ongoing, like water dripping on a stone. The person being bullied lives in a constant state of fear. Everything in his or her life is affected. School work and health are both affected. A person being bullied can get stomach-aches, diarrhea, and headaches from the stress.
Kids abused by peers or family members can suffer from depression, low-self-esteem, and anxiety occasionally or a great deal of the time. They might even consider suicide!

Here are 8 tips to help you protect yourself from bullies. What advise will help if you feel bullied or know someone who is being bullied?

1. Tell someone about it, a teacher, a friend, a parent — tell anyone but tell right away.
2. Stick together with your friend who is being bullied — never leave him or her alone.
3. Learn to ignore the bully. Don't add wood to the fire.
4. Don't get physical (or angry) with the bully.
5. Practice feeling and looking confident. Posture is a give-away.
6. take small steps to be in charge of your life. This is where a good coach can help.
7. Talk about the bully and bullying to anyone and everyone. The more public you are, the bully will hide out.
8. Find true friends, friends that can offer you unconditional friendship.

If you're a kid, find an adult who can guide you step by step through the process of taking charge of your life.

As you grow in confidence, you'll stand taller knowing that no one will bully you again.