Being bullied 'can cause sleep problems'.
BEING bullied can cause chronic sleep problems - similar to depression and other stressinduced mental illnesses, according to new research.
The study suggests that being bullied produces long-lasting, depression-like sleep dysfunction and other effects on daily biological rhythms.
But the researchers also found that it may be possible to ease the effects by using an experimental class of drugs that can block stress.
Study senior author Professor William Carlezon, of McLean Hospital in the United States, said: "While our study found that some stress-related effects on circadian rhythms are short-lived, others are long-lasting.
"Identifying these changes and understanding their meaning is an important step in developing methods to counter the long-lasting effects of traumatic experiences on mental health."
Stress is known to trigger psychiatric illnesses, including depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and sleep is frequently affected in these conditions.
Some people with stress disorders sleep less than normal, while others sleep more than normal or have more frequent bouts of sleep and wakefulness.
To show the effects of bullying, the researchers used an animal model simulating the physical and emotional stressors involved in human bullying - chronic social defeat stress.
The findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.