What is Scholionophobia?
Scholionophobia is the irrational and abnormal fear of school. As many as 2 to 5% of school children are thought to be strongly afflicted with this fear. Psychologists believe this phobia more common in preschool children 4-6 years old.
While learning disabilities may play a role and social fears may also be present, neither is required for a phobia to form. In preschool kids, concerns for loss of parents, fear of the unknown and leaving home can play a role.
Scholionophobia is considered a specific phobia and another common term for the fear of school is didaskaleinophobia, derived from the Greek root word “didasko”, meaning “to teach”.
The name “scholionophobia” is derived from the Latin word "scius" which means "knowing".
Symptoms of Scholionophobia
- extreme anxiety, dread
- shortness of breath
- rapid breathing
- heart palpitation
- excessive sweating
- dry mouth
- confusion / inability to articulate clearly
- lack of focus
- feelings of powerlessness
- obsession with the subject of the phobia
- fear or feelings of losing control
- avoidance behavior
Causes of Scholionophobia
Any stressful events in school might contribute to a child’s fear of school, including learning disabilities, difficulties with homework or other school activities, dealing with bullies or having a difficult teacher.
Scholionophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.
Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)
It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)
By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.
In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.
Scholionophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
Treatment for Scholionophobia
Educational support therapies are a part of the U.S. school system and will generally constitute a first stage response.
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
- Habit strategies to relax
- Cognitive therapy (CT)
- In vivo exposure
- Response prevention
- Group therapy
- Energy Psychology
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