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Can Workplace Bullying Cause Psychological Distress?

While you may consider bullying a phenomenon that is relegated to school-age kids, it can also be a problem within many Iowa workplaces. In addition to creating an unpleasant and sometimes hostile environment, workplace bullying may also cause a range of psychological effects that can prove extremely damaging if left unchecked.  

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, bullied workers often develop psychological conditions as a result of being harassed by their peers. For instance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result from intense bouts of bullying taking place on the job. PTSD is typically caused by prolonged negative experiences, which can impair your ability to cope with everyday stressors due to the constant onslaught of abuse. Even if the initial trauma has been addressed, you run the risk of re-triggering PTSD symptoms if the source of the stress remains.

Bullying has also been linked to psychological maladies. Depression is a common response to bullying, which usually focuses on aspects of the victim’s personality or appearance. Repeated bullying can cause depression in those that have never experienced it before, or it can cause depression to reemerge in those who’ve suffered from the condition in the past. In severe cases, depression can even lead to suicide, as some victims perceive the abuse to be a never-ending cycle.

In addition to PTSD and depression, workplace bullying is also associated with many other psychological disorders. Bullying can cause generalized anxiety, as well as panic attacks that may prevent the victim from leading an ordinary life. In terms of negative emotional responses, many bullying victims assume blame for the abuse they receive, which can result in a feeling of shame.