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School Refusal (cont.)

Are There Other Therapies for School Refusal?

Cross-cultural considerations should be taken into account when determining treatment of school refusal. Some students sent to boarding school may experience symptoms of physical illness caused by abrupt separation from family. These symptoms may include an inability to eat and hallucinations. Some Native American tribes call these symptoms "bad spirits." Native American students may experience a reversal of symptoms upon returning to their tribe, or with the assistance of a Native American healer.

Next Steps

After a visit with the child's pediatrician, a treatment plan should be developed. Consultation with a pediatric neurologist should be undertaken if there are any concerns about an underlying neurologic trigger. Consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist should be performed both for psychopharmacologic interventions as well as for confirmation of the diagnosis of school refusal. The consultation should also determine if other comorbid disorders (two or more disorders existing at the same time) require treatment and provide a comprehensive treatment plan. The psychiatrist can also conduct the psychological therapy or refer the patient to a psychotherapist for this treatment.

Is Follow-up Required After Treatment for School Refusal?

Close monitoring of school attendance is imperative and performed in close collaboration with the student's family, the school staff, and the treating professionals.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/11/2016

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School Refusal - Treatment

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Anxiety Disorder: Separation Anxiety and School Refusal »

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), separation anxiety is a fairly common anxiety disorder that consists of excessive anxiety beyond that expected for the child's developmental level related to separation or impending separation from the attachment figure (eg, primary caretaker, close family member) occurring in children younger than 18 years and lasting for at least 4 weeks.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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