Your child refuses to go to school? It could be a phobia

School phobia, school avoidance and school refusal are terms that describe an anxiety disorder in children who have an irrational, persistent fear of going to school. But, since last few years, the number of children suffering from school phobia is increasing


According to figures, 1 per cent to 5 per cent of children suffer from it. It is commonly seen in the boys from the age group of 5 to 16. Fight with friends, fear of teachers and a sudden change of division can lead to school phobia.

Krutika Mahajan (name changed), a Santa Cruz resident, who is in 9 th standard is suffering from school phobia. He is undergoing treatment at Sion Hospital and LTMG Medical College. While, Prerna Shinde (name changed) who stays in Matunga, is also afraid of going to school.

Dr Sagar Karia, secretary of Bombay Psychiatric Association as well as consulting psychiatrist at Sion Hospital said, “Krutika came to me to seek treatment. Her medical examination revealed that she has school phobia. Doctors said that she has school phobia and she cannot go to school. But, the teachers refused to believe it. After which, two teachers were sent to the hospital. Her reports were also examined by the other psychiatrist, which revealed that she had school phobia. Now, the girl doesn’t go to school on regular basis. She only goes during examination.”

He added, “Prerna studies in 7 th standard and she is a bright student. But, she has school phobia for which she been treated with counselling and medications. Still, there is no awareness regarding this disease. So, parents should be made aware about this.”

Dr Rahul Bhatambre, consultant neur0 psychiatrist, Mansparsh Neuro Mind Care clinic from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai said, “Today, many cases of school phobia are coming into light. Fight with friends, fear of teachers and a sudden change of division can lead to school phobia. Timely treatment can be helpful for the child. But, parents are unaware about this, due to which the children tend to become cranky. This affects their studies too. So, parents should communicate with their child and understand their problems.”