How to Overcome Having Panic Attacks About School

If going to school causes you to break out in panic attacks, it can seriously damage your motivation to go and stay involved. There may be a real reason for not wanting to go, such as being bullied or failing badly at a subject or more, or it could be that you're finding the schoolwork overwhelming, you're worried about a test or you wish you could make some friends. Whatever the reason behind the panic attacks, it's important to know that your feelings matter and that you deserve to have something done to help you get through this stage.


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    Talk to your parents about your panic attacks. Provided you feel that you can talk to your parents (or guardians), they can be a very good place to start with. They might have some suggestions for helping you to cope with the panic attacks or they might be able to arrange for you to see someone who can help if they feel this is out of their depth, such as a doctor or a child psychologist.
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    Talk to your school counselor. You can talk to this person as well as your parents, or in place of them. Explain that you're having panic attacks and how this is interfering with your ability to do well in your schoolwork or to cope with the school environment.
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    Consider what may be behind your panic attacks. When you talk to your parents and/or the counselor, they'll want to know the possible reasons that are triggering your panic attacks. Try to pinpoint things that are happening to you that you feel unable to cope with well. For example, you might be experiencing any of the following:
    • You are being bullied at school and you don't know how to protect yourself or get away from the bullies.
    • You are failing in a subject, or several subjects, and you don't know how to turn this around by yourself.
    • You are doing okay with the schoolwork but you are still finding it is stressing you out massively because you feel there is too much of it, or the timetable is too pressing, etc.
    • You are terrified of upcoming exams or a particular event happening during the school year.
    • Something bad has happened to you at school, such as being molested, attacked or beaten up. You may have felt too scared to report it, or you may have reported it but felt that this didn't clear up your emotional scars.
    • You hate school and find it dull, uninspiring and tortuous. This could be because you're very bright, under-challenged, overworked, failing or truly and utterly uninterested in school.
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    Seek help to deal with the panic attacks. With the help of your parents and/or the counselor, or perhaps a professional such as a psychologist, ask for help in putting together a plan to deal with the problems that are triggering the panic attacks, as well as learning some coping mechanisms to reduce the panic attacks themselves. This might include reducing your workload, having bullies dealt with appropriately, increasing the challenges of the work, getting psychological assistance for any emotional issues, learning with a tutor, and so forth. Find practical ways to deal with the triggers that are bringing on the panic attacks.
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    Take it easy and expect a slow but steady recovery. You won't solve the panic attacks overnight. Even with the best of intentions, the soundest of plans and the love and support of others understanding what you're going through, it will still take time to rebuild your strength and get rid of the panic attacks completely. However, with this support and help, you should find it starts to get easier to cope and the panic attacks will reduce in time. A big part of the problem is often feeling that you're struggling through all this alone; by reaching out and getting the advice and help from others, you are already on your way to making things better.
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    Keep talking about things that bother you. Have good channels of communication with at least one person you trust and who has already been through what you're experiencing or at least knows how to deal with it. If you don't feel that a parent or guardian is a good person for this, find someone else who might be, such as an aunt or uncle, an older sibling, a therapist or your doctor. It is important to be able to express your feelings and worries freely.


  • Music can often help you to stay calm and grounded. Choose music that inspires and uplifts you.
  • Eat nutritious food. It will give you the energy needed to get through each day.
  • Play a sport or do regular exercise. Movement and exercise are great ways to release tension and to feel good again.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for things or to get things done. For example, get up a little earlier in the mornings so that you don't have to rush to get read. Allow for some library time after school instead of rushing off to catch the bus. Make a schedule for your homework, to allow for plenty of time to get it done and still have time for other things you'd like to do.
  • Keeping a journal can help you to spot patterns of feeling negative and to see what triggers the panic attacks. It can also help you to overcome them, by being a place where you can express your feelings freely.

Things You'll Need

  • Support and advice sources
  • A schedule or plan for treating the panic attacks
  • A journal (optional but useful)

Article Info

Categories: Surviving School | Panic Attacks