Anxiety and Education

By: Heather Marion

The two Anxiety Disorders which most predominantly affect education are:

 

Social Anxiety Disorder Panic Disorder

However, it is important to note that even students that are not diagnosed with anxiety disorders can be affected by school related anxiety.

Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder: Individuals are overwhelmingly anxious and significantly self conscious in everyday situations. *Most common Anxiety Disorder in teenagers Symptoms:
-blushing -profuse sweating -trembling -nausea -difficulty speaking *The extent to which the disorder affects one’s life depends on the degree of their anxiety

-Since children in schools are constantly forced to interact with others, students with Social Anxiety Disorder often find attending school to be a very difficult task

Students with Social Anxiety Disorder often feel most anxious in the classroom when asked to:
• Speak in front of the class • Talk with unfamiliar children • Write on the board • Perform in front of others • Interact with strangers

-Social Anxiety Disorder frequently affects student’s grades -Since the students do not feel as anxious when they are by themselves, they prefer to spend the day by alone

What can schools do to help reduce social anxiety?
• • Establish a partnership between the student’s parents and school personnel so progress is not outdone by another Supportive classroom environments- activities, partners, reward system, work on specific goals video

Panic Diso r der
 Panic Disorder: characterized by “unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear” Symptoms: -chest pain -heart palpitations -shortness of breath -dizziness -abdominal distress -constant anticipation -feelings of dread *Panic attacks are completely unpredictable and flare without warning…many times while children are at school. This can result in avoidance behavior

Panic Disorder can greatly affect a student’s ability to learn…
*constant state of worry that an attack will occur while in the classroom = inability to concentrate = low grades *Rush through assignments

Accommodating students with Panic Disorder ♦ teacher should have individual plans with students ♦ permanent pass ♦ contact with child’s therapist *If student is in the midst of a panic attack, do not attempt to stop/restrain them!

-Although Anxiety Disorders account for a number of children in schools that suffer from excessive worry, it is not necessary for students to have a disorder to be affected by school anxiety

-Another type of school related anxiety known to frequently affect students is test anxiety.

-Test anxiety is a condition which occurs when a student feels an unusual amount of discomfort and/or nervousness when placed in a situation that requires test taking.

Symptoms:
• Muscle Tension • Nausea • Excess sweating • Feelings of worry/ frustration • Inability of concentrate What can teachers do to help relieve test anxiety?
-Practice tests: allow students to become comfortable with format, raise confidence that they have already completed a similar test -Encourage students to eliminate negative thoughts = boost of confidence -Mood music -Teach methods of relaxation