Stalking is a terrible behavior that can have many ill effects for victims. Nobody likes to be stalked, but most people don’t realize the severity of its effects. Knowing more about the many ways in which stalking affects those victimized can be very valuable for parents who want to keep their children healthy and safe from stalkers. Learn more on the effects of stalking.
According to the George Washington University website, stalking can impact its victims differently depending on the characteristics, current circumstances, past experiences and their knowledge of the stalker. The effect that the stalking has on the victim can also be influenced by the way in which others respond to hearing about the situation and how the situation is handled by the authorities.
Effects of Stalking on Men and Women
Even though the effects of stalking can vary from individual to individual, there has been research that has shown that common patterns are shared between victims and the ways in which they respond to being victimized in this way. Females are more likely to express stronger fears about the experience. However, there have been studies which have shown that males who have experienced similar stalking experiences report symptoms similar to those exhibited by the opposite sex.
Mental Health Effects of Stalking
Stalking can affect the mental health of its victims in a number of ways. These symptoms include confusion, denial, doubt and cocern. Victims usually wonder if they are overreacting to the situation. They ask themselves if they are being unreasonable. This doubt can cause serious emotional issues. Victims tend to get frustrated and suffer from embarrassment, self-blame and guilt. They can become apprehensive and feel fear and even terror when they’re alone. They may feel like themselves, their friends, family and pets are in danger.
These mental health issues can make victims feel isolated and even helpless to stop from being harassed. They can end up getting depressed and feel anxiety, which leads to panic attacks and agoraphobia. These symptoms can lead the victims to develop difficulties when they try to concentrate or remember things. They can even develop difficulty getting to sleep and have nightmares. They may suffer from anger, irritability and thoughts of homicide. All these emotions may cause them to feel numb.
Effects of Stalking: Post-Traumatic Stress
Victims of stalking may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders. This means that they will act hypervigilant and have flashbacks to incidents that frightened them. They may be startled more easily. They could have insecurity and problems trusting others and creating intimacy. Victims may experience changes in personality, such as becoming more aggressive, introverted or suspicious. They may try to medicate themselves by using drugs and alcohol. They could even try to commit suicide.
Physical Health related Effects of Stalking
There are a number of ways in which stalking can affect victims physically. The difficulty sleeping and being on guard and suffering depression can all cause fatigue. Victims can experience the effects of debilitating chronic stress, which includes hypertension and headaches. They can suffer from gastrointestinal problems that lead to fluctuations in weight because of not being able to eat or eating for comfort. Existing conditions, such as gastric ulcers, psoriasis and asthma, can be exacerbated. Victims may experience dizzyness. They may get short of breath and experince dysfunctions in their sex lives. They may injure themselves physically due to their inability to concentrate or because they are on drugs or drunk. They might sweat and have heart palpatations.
Effects of Stalking on School and Work
People who have been stalked or are currently being stalked can suffer from a deterioration of their performances at school or work. They might take more sick leave. They may leave their jobs or get fired. They could choose to change their careers. They might decide to drop out of school, leading to a poor education and fewer career opportunities.
Effects of Stalking on Social Life
The effects of stalking can be felt in the victim’s social life. Victims may feel insecure and be unable to trust others enough to form friendships and other relationships. This can stunt their social growth and leave them feeling totally isolated. They might stop doing regular things like going out and working out at the gym. People may avoid the victim because they can’t understand the situation. The victim might move away, change appearance and get a new phone number.
Stemming the Effects of Stalking
Stalking is a serious issue with many ill effects. Parents need to remain watchful. If these effects are observed in their children, they need to find out what is going on immediately. Parents have a chance to stem further effects from occuring if they can get involved quickly enough. They need to put their children at ease and let them know that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about sharing with them. This can make a big difference.