Effects of Workplace Bullying

cropped-workplace-bullying.jpgThere are now many studies quantifying the effects on those who experience workplace bullying. The many different health effects attributed to workplace bullying include: 

Psychological Effects

·         Severe stress symptoms or anxiety

·         Panic attacks

·         Sleep disturbances

·         Concentration difficulties

·         Impaired judgement

·         Mistakes and accidents at work

·         Smoking

·         Excessive drinking and overeating 

Physiological Effects

·         Raised blood pressure and heart disease

·         Reduced resistance to infection

·         Impaired memory function

·         Stomach and bowel problems

·         Skin problems

·         Severe loss of confidence and self-esteem

·         Fear, anxiety or depression leading to suicide

Behavioural Effects

·         Becoming aggressive

·         Becoming irritable

·         Becoming vengeful

·         Becoming withdrawn

·         Obsessive dwelling on the aggressor

·         Becoming hypersensitive to criticism

·         Becoming emotionally drained

·         Absenteeism from work

The impact of bullying is not confined to the person who is on the receiving end – other workers are also affected. International research suggests that co-workers witnessing workplace bullying also experience bullying-related consequences even though they were not themselves directly subjected to the actions.

People also report that their relationship with their partner or family worsened because of the bullying. Victims often report feelings of intense anxiety, shame and guilt, in part due to their professional status and subsequent failure to deal with what was happening to them. Unfortunately, the symptoms of bullying tend to persist over long periods and its victims may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Prolonged Duress Stress Disorder. The growing recognition that bullying at work is a cause of ill-health, absenteeism and even death by suicide makes it a health and safety issue.