Doctor's Notes on School Refusal
School refusal is a psychological symptom that occurs when a student refuses to go to school or regularly experiences severe distress related to school attendance. School refusal can occur at any age but it is most often seen in children 5-7 years of age and 11-14 years of age. Some causes of school refusal may include an earlier history of separation anxiety, social anxiety, or depression; undiagnosed learning disabilities or reading disorders, parental illness, parental marital problems, death in the family, moving, jealousy over a new infant sibling, and bullying.
School refusal is considered more of a symptom than a disorder and can have a number of causes. The child refuses to attend school and experiences significant distress about the idea of attending school. Signs of school refusal may include significant school absence (generally one week or more), significant distress with school attendance, embarrassment or shame at the inability to attend school, crying or protesting every morning before school, missing the bus every day (in adolescents), and regularly developing some type of physical symptom when it is time to go to school.
Must Read Articles:
Anxiety DisordersAnxiety as a medical condition is characterized by worry, fear, nervousness, shortness of breath, sleep problems and other symptoms. Diarrhea, tremors, and rapid heart rate are some physical symptoms of severe anxiety, which may arise from a mental or physical condition, drug use, or some combination of these causes. Treatment can include medication and psychotherapy.
Clinical DepressionDepression is a mental illness that affects 19 million Americans annually. Causes are genetic, environmental, and biological. Symptoms and signs include weight loss, fatigue, crying spells, feeling sad, isolation from family and friends, and thoughts of death or suicide. Treatment may include psychotherapy and medication.
ParentingParenting is the hardest and best job you'll ever have. By definition, parenting is on-the-job training with a very steep learning curve. Discipline strategies by necessity are often age related.
Separation AnxietySeparation anxiety is a normal characteristic in infants and toddlers. Symptoms include reluctance to fall asleep, homesickness, nightmares, tantrums if separated from the primary caregiver, and feelings of anxiety. Treatment may incorporate positive reinforcement, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and anti-anxiety medications.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.