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Psychosis – Is Early Childhood Bullying a Cause?

Children who are bullied or who are bullies themselves may be at greater risk of becoming psychotic as adults. Psychosis usually occurs in the form of hearing voices, seeing things that no one else can see and many other alterations in reality caused by the brain malfunctioning. From a study done at the University of Warwick in the UK, researchers found that some children were almost 5 times more likely to suffer from psychotic episodes by the age of 18 if they were bullied. This increased percentage occurred even if other factors such as home environment or behavior problems were taken into account. It occurred at 4 and 1/2 times the normal rate if children were the bullies themselves.

Researchers found that there was increased risk of psychosis when the bullying happened for brief periods as well as when children were bullied over a prolonged period of time. Psychosis is often diagnosed as schizophrenia and/or paranoia. It is usually treated with medication. Some people experience psychosis only when under extreme stress. Some experience it chronically and for some it is not known what triggers their psychosis or when it may be triggered. There is some thought that increased tendency to psychosis occurs due to genetic factors, brain allergies, chemical exposure and/or vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the diet.

This study highlights the importance of getting adults involved in preventing bullying of children and making sure your children are not bullies.

Source: University of Warwick (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/childhood_bullying_shown/)