If your child is suffering from long-lasting depression like sleep dysfunction or you notice some changes in his/ her daily biological rhythms, it can be due to him/ her being subjected to bullying.
A study has warned this and more after findings in an animal model showed that bullying can have dramatic effects on sleep and other circadian rhythm-related functions. These symptoms are characteristic of clinical depression and other stress-induced mental illnesses in the long run.
For the study, the research team used mouse model — a smaller, younger mouse was paired with a larger, older, and more aggressive mouse, who indulges in bullying the former.
Detailed in the Journal of Neuroscience, the results showed the smaller mice showed many more bouts of paradoxical sleep, which resembles Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in humans and when dreams occur and memories are strengthened, the type of sleep disruptions often seen in people with depression. These bullied mice showed a flattening of body temperature fluctuations, an effect seen in people with depression.
Stress is known to trigger psychiatric illnesses, including depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and sleep is frequently affected in these conditions. The study also found some stress-related effects on circadian rhythms were short-lived while others were long-lasting. Identifying these changes and understanding their meaning was important in developing methods to counter the long-lasting effects of traumatic experiences on mental health. Both the sleep and body temperature changes persisted in smaller mice after they were removed from physically and emotionally threatening environment. This suggested the mice had developed similar symptoms to the ones in people with long-term depression. However, it may also be possible to mitigate these effects — both intensity and duration — with the use of an experimental class of drugs that can block stress, the researchers said.
If you get to know that your kid is facing bullying, at school or elsewhere, do this:
- Always tell your child to stay connected, either with you or with a faithful friend. Generally, bullies operate to make their victims feel alone and powerless.
- Teach your kid to take quick action against the bully as it is the best way to retain and gain power.
- Encourage your boy/ girl to respond without anger or fear and always maintain confidence.
- Connect with the school and make the teachers aware of the kid who is bullying your kid.
- Make sure the parents of the bully are informed. Meet them and inform them of their kid’s abnormal/ unusual behaviour.