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Study: Bullying Leaves Psychological Scars Lasting into Adulthood

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Children who are bullied can suffer serious psychological effects stretching well into adulthood, according to a new study led by Duke Medicine researchers.

Their report undercuts previous beliefs that most bullied children will eventually outgrow the abuse they receive from elders or peers.

In fact, the Duke researchers warn that physical and verbal torment can leave deep scars that make adults at a much greater risk for anxiety disorders, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Their findings, published in JAMA Psychiatry, are based on 20 years of research on bullied subjects from the time they were adolescents.

Dr. Bill Copeland, one of the study's lead authors, said that children who were abused and who later became bullies were destined for the worst outcome of all.

Copeland asserted that people in this group "were at five times increased risk for having depression, and they were about ten times increased risk for reporting some suicidality in adulthood."

Meanwhile, Copeland said that the reason why so many cases fly under the radar of psychiatrists treating bullied children is that they tend to focus more on problems at home than school issues where taunting can be more intense.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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