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Workplace Bullying Resulting in Health Issues

Bullying is a menace that is prevalent not just in schools, but in workplaces too.

workplace bullying

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Workplace Bullying Institute reveals that job-related bullying can cause serious long-term problems for a victim. Cruel treatment at work can lead to temporary or permanent disability among workers. A recent study has suggested that as many as 72 percent people are aware of the risks associated with workplace bullying and 1 in 4 workers report having suffered workplace abuse. Educating workers on the dangers of bullying can go a long way in reducing the risk of serious consequences.

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can be defined as a complex set of behaviors that can have an adverse effect on its targets. It may involve abusive conduct including intimidation, sabotage, threats, withholding resources, deliberate humiliation, and physical or verbal abuse. Workplace bullies may use one or more of these techniques to create uncertainty and fear among their victim, causing the worker to lose their health and livelihood.

Workplace Bullying Can Cause Long-Term Health Problems

Bullying at the workplace may last for months or even years, causing immense mental stress to a victim. The bullied worker may develop various psychological problems that can lead to loss of employment. Some workers may develop health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcers. Depending on how serious the abuse is, the victim may suffer consequences that are as serious as that of domestic abuse.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Workplace Bullying

The worst outcome of workplace bullying could be post-traumatic stress disorder. The syndrome that was earlier associated with war time veterans is now recognized as a psychological disorder that affects people who live through traumatizing experiences such as assault, rape, domestic violence, natural disasters, and even workplace abuse. It may result from continuous abuse and stress or from a one-time traumatic event. Post-traumatic stress syndrome resulting from ongoing abuse can be both debilitating and complex.

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Sadly, job-related PTSD is on the rise. A recent study found that American workers are more stressed than ever, with one in five reporting that they have symptoms of PTSD.

When workplace bullying continues for a long time and escalates to the point of sabotage or humiliation, it can lead to PTSD symptoms in the victims.

Common PTSD symptoms that bullied workers may face are:

  • nightmares
  • partial or total insomnia
  • flashbacks
  • nervous system disorders
  • digestive malfunctions
  • exaggerated reactions
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • inability to speak about traumatic events

If you’re worried that your job might be causing PTSD, here are questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you feel like you’re constantly under pressure?
  • Do you feel like you can’t ever switch off from work?
  • Do you find yourself reliving traumatic events that have happened at work?
  • Do you avoid people or places that remind you of your job?
  • Do you have trouble sleeping because of worries about work?
  • Do you feel irritable or on edge most of the time?
  • Do you have outbursts of anger or rage?
  • Do you feel detached from your friends and family?
  • Do you find yourself using alcohol or drugs to cope with work-related stress?
  • Do you feel isolated or alone at work?
  • Do you feel like your job is constantly changing or unpredictable?
  • Do you feel like your work is unfulfilling or purposeless?
  • Do you feel unsupported by your employer or co-workers?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your job might be causing you to experience PTSD, which is not something to be taken lightly. Job-related PTSD can seriously impact your mental and physical health, as well as your relationships. It also lowers your productivity at work, which can lead to even more stress.

What Can You Do if You Think Your Job Might Be Causing PTSD?

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Here are a few things you can do:

Talk to Someone: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by work-related stress, it’s important to talk to someone about it. Whether that’s a friend, family member, therapist, or doctor, talking openly about what you’re going through can help you feel less alone and more in control.

Make Changes at Work: Talk to your boss about what’s causing you stress and see if there’s anything that can be done to make your job more manageable. If your job is truly untenable, it might be time to start looking for a new one.

Seek Professional Help: If you’re struggling to cope with work-related stress on your own, professional help can make a big difference. A therapist can help you understand and manage your stress, while a doctor can rule out any other physical or mental health conditions contributing to your symptoms.

In most cases, a worker will endure abuse or mistreatment at work for a long time before developing PTSD symptoms. The situation become worse when workers do not report abuse for the fear of losing their job. Cumulative, long-term abuse can cause serious medical conditions. Workplace bullying can even aggravate a pre-existing condition. Long-term stress caused by bullying can exaggerate otherwise manageable medical conditions.

St. Louis Injury Attorney

Proving that a medical or psychological condition is a result of workplace bullying can be extremely difficult. Contact our Missouri workers’ compensation attorney from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, LLC to help you protect your legal rights. Call us at (314) 361-4300 today for a free consultation.

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Workplace Injury and Accident Causes

Updated: July 17, 2023