Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Social neurotoxins and the bullied brain

It has long been known that being a victim of childhood taunting and bullying correlates strongly with psychological impairment in adulthood. Anxiety, depression, anger, drug abuse: All these and other problems seem to arise with tragic consistency, but until recently no direct mechanism had been found to account for these effects.

Bully and victim

Bully and victim: The taunts may cause more damage
than the fist.
[ Image Source ]

Now research has shown that bullied and taunted children’s brain development is often altered and impaired; in particular, the corpus callosum linking brain hemispheres is narrowed (as also appears in schizophrenia), which has been associated with difficulty in making moral judgments.

This is an issue that will have to be faced with the urgency it demands. As our numbers increase and crowding follows, and with the worldwide economic problems facing all but the very rich, the stresses facing both adults and children escalate in proportion. With such stresses and with the atrophying of civility and respect that increasingly characterize most schools, bullying is becoming more common, brutal and pervasive.

We are in danger of destroying much of our next generation. We cannot continue to neglect this issue, or to utter platitudes about “the law of the jungle.” The potential consequences are unthinkable, not only for our societies, but also for the countless children whose futures are being battered and tormented into a hell of hopeless misery.

Originally published as a review of a Psychology Today article on neurological damage
caused by bullying

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