Skipping class because of anxiety?


Do you skip class because of anxiety?

Some students do tend to skip classes due to the symptoms of anxiety. Skipping classes due to anxiety can be looked at as a valid reason due to the disturbing and uncomforting thoughts and feelings that are associated with it.

Anxiety can often stop students from going to school and engaging with other students and school-related activities.

Some families tend to understand the discomfort that is associated with anxiety whereas some tend to blame the student for their lack of seriousness and responsibility.

Some students experience anxiety about going to school. this anxiety can result from a sense of separation from the primary caregiver, a demanding school environment, or some sort of family distress.

Children who refuse to attend class or school usually try to win a parent’s permission to stay home, although some simply refuse to leave the house.

What are the symptoms of skipping classes due to anxiety?

Some physical symptoms of skipping class due to anxiety displayed by students are:

  • Dizziness,
  • Headaches, 
  • Nausea, 
  • Vomiting, 
  • Diarrhoea,
  • Shaking or trembling,
  • Increased heart rate,
  • Chest pains
  • Stomach pains.

 Behavioural symptoms include:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Crying
  • Anger outbursts
  • Threats to hurt themselves.

What are the causes of skipping classes due to anxiety?


There appears to be a genetic component to all anxiety disorders, including school phobia.

Children whose parents have anxiety disorders have a higher rate of anxiety disorders than children whose parents do not have these disorders.

School phobia is often associated with other anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia or depression.

Some experts theorize that another possible cause of school refusal is traumatic and prolonged separation from the primary caregiver in early childhood.

Family environment

Family functioning affects school refusal. Stressful events or a dysfunctional family can cause children to feel compelled to stay home.

Young children are more likely to refuse separation from their parents or caregiver because they fear something catastrophic will happen to the adult while they are at school.

Older children may refuse to leave a parent who is ill or who has a substance abuse problem.

Demanding school environment

It is not uncommon for middle and high school students to become school refusers because they are afraid of violence either at school or on the way to school, afraid of failing academically, or have been repeatedly bullied or humiliated.

Genuine physical symptoms are common and include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking or trembling, fast heart rate, chest pains, and back, joint or stomach pains.

These symptoms usually improve once the child is allowed to stay home.

 Behavioural symptoms include temper tantrums, crying, angry outbursts, and threats to hurt themselves.

What are the ways to deal with anxiety? 

It is important for the students to deal with anxiety in an effective manner to avoid skipping school consistently.

Some techniques that one can adopt to manage this anxiety and get back to normal are:

Talk about your feelings

  • The first and the most effective way is to convey how you are feeling to your family and friends and seek help when offered by them. This is only possible by shadowing the thoughts of being labelled as weak upon sharing one’s feelings. 

Stay away from the identifiable triggers

  • It is safe to say that anxiety is contagious in nature and more environmental and situation-driven, keeping distance from identifiable triggers can help in anxiety that results in skipping classes. 


Take a break 

  • It’s important to understand that spending most of your time at school and meeting academic demands might disrupt an individual’s life balance. It’s necessary to take some time off from school or college work and indulge in pleasurable activities to restore a balance between classes and personal life. 

Concentrate on the positives 

  • Try to list out and concentrate on the positives of school or college and personal life.

Examine and re-evaluate  the negative thoughts 

  • Examine and reflect upon the negative thoughts that you entail; this could be done individually or with the help of a peer review.

What is school refusal or school phobia?

Children with school refusal/phobia avoid school and present with severe anxiety when taken to school and forced to separate from the parent.

The anxiety reaction may take the form of severe temper tantrums.

While school phobia commonly occurs in individuals who present with separation anxiety disorder, in some cases children do not seem anxious during other times of separation from parents or the home, except when they are required to go to school.

School phobia is a complex syndrome that can be influenced by the child’s temperament, the situation at school, and the family situation.

Current thinking defines school phobia or school refusal as an anxiety disorder related to separation anxiety.

Children refuse to attend school because doing so causes uncomfortable feelings, stress, anxiety, or panic.

 Many children develop physical symptoms, such as dizziness, stomachache, or headache, when they are made to go to school.

School avoidance is a milder form of refusal to attend school.

With school avoidance, the child usually tries to avoid a particular situation, such as taking a test or changing clothes for physical education, rather than avoiding the school environment altogether.

School refusal usually develops after a child has been home from school due to an illness or vacation. It may also follow a stressful family event, such as divorce, parental illness or injury, death of a relative, or a move to a new school.

Usually, refusal to attend school develops gradually, with children putting up increasingly intense resistance to going to school as time passes.

Psychiatrists believe that in young children, the motivating factor often is a desire to stay with the parent or caregiver rather than to avoid an unpleasant situation at school.

In older children, or if school refusal comes on suddenly, it may be related to avoiding a distressing situation at school such as bullying, teasing, severe teacher criticism, or it may follow a humiliating event such as throwing up in class.

The longer a child stays out of school, the more difficult it is for that child to return.


The symptoms of anxiety can be scary and discomforting for the individual. It is very common for students who experience anxiety and associated symptoms to skip classes and school.

It is very important for the students to convey their feelings and emotions to their family friends or a professional in order to manage this anxiety and limit the academic damage caused due to it.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Can you skip school because of anxiety?

Many students refuse to attend or go to school could due to anxiety. This usually happens in severe or chronic cases which are later termed as school refusal.

school refusal could result from anxiety about going to school itself or anxiety due to other situational, environmental and personal reasons.

Is anxiety a good reason to miss school?

Though anxiety is not a physical condition it can cause many discomforts in an individual.

Anxiety can be associated with fatigue, headaches, stomachache, and other physical symptoms. These symptoms might make going to school difficult.

Can anxiety affect your grades?

It is known that anxiety can have a negative influence on one’s academic progress. This might not necessarily be due to absenteeism but also lack of concentration and the other symptoms that make it difficult for an individual to carry out daily functioning and optimal performance in various domains of an individual’s life.

Does anxiety affect a student ability to study?

Research indicates that the symptoms of anxiety can have a negative effect on a child’s memory as well as their performance in various areas.

Children might have a difficult time retaining information when they are anxious. The discomfort that is caused due to the symptoms of anxiety might have a strong impact on a child’s cognitive functioning.

Can students skip school when they experience stress?

Experiencing stress can be very normal for every human being. However sometimes when this stress is very overwhelming it is possible that the students might refuse to go to school or college.

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