Extreme stress can have serious and lasting psychological and physiological effects, described in more detail here. Everyone with a responsibility for management of risks to health and safety - others' and their own - needs to know that bullying is a health hazard, and so it should be addressed in any risk assessment and managed with the same diligence as one should apply to a physical hazard. Where humans are present, the risk of bullying cannot be completely eliminated, but it can be combated at source and/or replaced with less dangerous behaviour.
"There's only one way of dealing with stress - that's to identify the cause and then work to reduce or eliminate that cause. I believe bullying is the main, but least recognised, cause of stress in the workplace today."
- Tim Field
Post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), Complex PTSD and Acute Stress Reaction are stress-induced psychological conditions that can occur after traumatic experiences; They are natural emotional reactions to a deeply shocking and disturbing experiences. They are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. The main difference between the two conditions is that in Acute Stress Reaction, the reactive symptoms are more immediate and less enduring than they are for PTSD.
What it is, what it isn't, and the real reason it's so dangerous
If you believe you're the subject of a carefully coordinated campaign of bullying that takes the form of stalking, involving large numbers of people you interact with, including complete strangers, neighbours, public service employees, workmates and so on, whose actions take the form of making subtle gestures that you find offensive, uttering keywords or phrases to covertly just letting you know they’re stalking you, e.g. by watching you from a distance or covertly following you around, with the effect of manipulating you, subduing you, making you think you're insane and causing extreme distress, this page is for you and trusted members of your family and friends. Similarly, if you’re worried about the subject after finding information about it elsewhere, this may help.