Didaskaleinophobia is a condition that describes a severe fear of going to school. It is sometimes referred to as separation anxiety, but some doctors argue that separation anxiety describes fear of being separated by parents for any reason, not just to attend school. These doctors maintain that didaskaleinophobia may be a type of separation anxiety.
Though primarily associated with children under age the age of 12, didaskaleinophobia can affect both children and teens and, in rare cases, may continue into adulthood. Children who suffer this condition may have many fears associated with going to school. Often they are fearful for themselves, that something bad will happen to them at school, but sometimes they are fearful that some harm may come to their parents or loved ones while they are away. Whatever the imagined threat, children who suffer didaskaleinophobia have fear reactions that are common to many other phobias.
Some of the behavior associated with didaskaleinophobia includes refusing to attend school, complaints of illness, and irrational fear for themselves and parents. In addition, the child may become overly reliant on their parents, and may throw temper tantrums when faced with having to leave home for school. Children who suffer this condition may also become withdrawn, avoiding contact with anyone other than their parents.
Most doctors believe that children who are unable to overcome their phobias are at increased risk of developing other types of anxiety disorders as adults. They may also be more prone to depression and other emotional problems. In spite of the risk these phobias can pose to children, few studies have been done to better understand and evaluate phobias in children. This may be because phobias are not common in children, but more often are suffered by adults or young adults.
Didaskaleinophobia is typically treated by counseling sessions aimed at helping children confront their fears. This type of treatment typically involves the administration of the school, as it could require after-school visits. During these visits, the child takes some time becoming comfortable with the school while having a parent along to help minimize fear. Each visit typically lasts longer and might include more exposure to other children and teachers.
In severe cases of didaskaleinophobia, medication might be part of the treatment program. These medications might include antidepressants or beta blockers. Many doctors believe that treating childhood phobias with these types of medications may carry risks of side effects that could be much more damaging than the phobia they are meant to treat. Antidepressants have been linked to suicide in children and teens.