Bullying May Trigger Binge Eating, Smoking: Study

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Those who have suffered bullying or sexual abuse at some point in life were three times more likely to be binge eaters compared to those who had never experienced these forms of abuse, said a study. The findings, led by University of Adelaide researchers, revealed that the victims generally lead a lower quality of life similar to those living with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, depression or severe anxiety. The study was published in the BMC Public Health journal.

The researchers said that these people were four times more likely to use antidepressants and smoking dependence was twice the rate compared to those who faced no major instances of bullying

"If a doctor finds a patient with multiple harmful behaviours — like smoking dependence and binge eating — who is depressed and has a lower quality of life, they should consider exploring whether these patients were victims of bullying and/or sexual abuse," said David Gonzalez-Chica from the varsity.

"Identifying survivors of both forms of abuse is important to provide support and reduce more severe mental and physical consequences, such as suicide," Gonzalez-Chica added.

For the study, the tea, investigated around 3,000 Australians who were made to take part in face-to-face interviews. The questions were self-labelling in nature designed to measure the age of onset and duration of bullying and sexual assault and their outcomes during home interviews.

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While 60-70 per cent of these forms of abuse occurred in childhood or adolescence, they were associated with worse outcomes later in life.

The study also revealed that if someone had two or more adverse outcomes (smoking dependence, binge eating, antidepressant use, and a lower quality of life) the probability they had suffered bullying and/or sexual abuse ranged between 60-85 per cent.

(With inputs IANS)

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