Pediatric Psychiatrist offers tips to help beat back-to-school stress

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WBAY) – The start of a new school year can be exciting for some students, but stressful for others.

dr. Marcia Slattery, a child psychiatrist and director of the UW Health Anxiety Disorders Program, said nerves are expected on the first day of school.

“This year, all the children will also have an acclimation period with us who have been recovering from COVID-19 for the past year and a half. This adds an extra dimension to stress at school,” says Dr. slattery.

She explained that nerves can turn into anxiety, and there are different reasons for everyone.

“Developing for younger children, the kind of anxiety they will often exhibit is more of a separation anxiety of being away from home and away from their parents. They feel more vulnerable. For teens, it’s more a matter of peers.” Will the other kids like me?’” said Dr. Slattery.

The way they deal with anxiety is also different.

“For younger children, it’s very common for them to be irritable rather than anxious (sic) … it manifests itself in irritability and tantrums,” she said. “(For teens) What you’ll often see is that they’re more withdrawn and avoiding things.”

She said physical symptoms can occur, such as headaches, stomach pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances.

“One of the most important ways to reduce anxiety is routine and consistency at home,” she said.

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