Bullying: Defined – Types- Psyche Damage – Substance Abuse Driver – Resources

Bullying by definition is someone that threatens or commits physical or verbal harm to another person based on an actual or perceived imbalance of power over his or her victim.

  • This kind of human behavior comes with a lifetime of consequences for both the victims and the bullies.
  • It’s a type of intimidation as old as the earliest known ancient societies.

Asking for help and reporting a bully’s destructive behavior is the first step in resolving these issues. If necessary, parents, family, friends, and coworkers must listen to victims and advocate for them.

  • Tolerating bullying will not help anyone, the victim or the perpetrator.


“Bullying is not just a harmful rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up,” William E. Copeland, Ph.D., a psychiatry professor at Duke University and lead author of a bullying study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, wrote. “Victims of bullying are at increased risk for emotional disorders in adulthood. Bullies [and their] victims are at high risk and most likely to think about or plan suicide.”

  • Campus Safety Magazine, an outlet that serves high school, college, and hospital safety administrators, reports that around 70 percent of students ages 12-18 say they were victims of bullying at least once or twice during the school year. Just over 4 percent said they experience it every single day.
  • The lasting mental health damage of bullying can lead to severe consequences.
  • Victims often fail to report this behavior for fear no one will believe them if there wasn’t a witness to the bullying or, sadly, feel that they somehow deserve to be bullied.

According to stopbullying.gov

  • Over half (52 percent) of young people report it
  • Embarrassing or damaging photographs taken without the knowledge or consent of the subject by 11 percent of adolescents and teens
  • Of the young people who reported cyber bullying incidents against them, one-third (33 percent) of them said that their bullies issued online threats
  • Over half (55 percent) of all teens who use social media have witnessed outright bullying via that medium
  • An astounding 95 percent of teens who saw bullying on social media report that others, like them, have ignored the behavior
  • More than half of young people surveyed say that they never confide in their parents when cyberbullying happens to them
  • Only one out of every six parents of adolescents and teens are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyberbullying


Several bullying variations can happen to children and adults in the workplace, school, home, or other social environments. These can include:

  • Verbal: abuse includes name-calling about any person’s aspect, including their body type, race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Spreading derogatory rumors about someone is also considered a form of bullying
  • Physical bullying: abuse in the form of threatened or actual physical harm
  • Coercion: this is a form of extorting or blackmailing victims by insinuating some form of injury 
  • Isolation: This is when bullies try to isolate a person by intentionally leaving them out of activities
  • Signal bullying: abuse that might not manifest as verbal, but a bully’s intimidating gestures or posturing signal potential harm
  • Workplace: intimidation or abuse, most often oral, from superiors or colleagues at work that creates a hostile environment, poor productivity, and high turnover rates
  • Cyber: a more and more common form of bullying that takes place on social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter – via threatening emails and or text messages

While most states have anti-bullying policies, regulations, or laws, it is not always easy for bullying victims to come forward. It applies to both children and adults.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, nearly 15 percent of students admitted to being victims of cyber-bullying in the past year. High-school-aged girls had a greater likelihood of being victims.

Stopbullying.gov states, “Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.” It includes but is not limited to;

  • Sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.

It also includes sharing personal or private information about someone else, causing embarrassment or humiliation.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media
  • Text Message
  • Instant Message
  • Email

Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

Substance Abuse

Dr. Copeland’s research noted elevated rates of psychiatric disorders – anxiety, panic disorder, depression, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – in victims of bullying and bullies themselves. These issues come with their symptoms as well, including substance use disorders.

Data compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) finds that about half of people who have a mental illness during their lives will also struggle with a substance use disorder, such as drug addiction or alcoholism.