Homeopathy for Back-to-School Anxiety

Fall is a season of transition and change: the leaves turn beautiful colors, the garden is full of vegetables ready to be harvested, days become shorter, and the weather becomes cooler. Fall also marks the beginning of a new school year, which means a significant transition for families, both children and adults. There can be a shift in daily routines for all family members: for example, school-aged children need to return to an early bedtime routine. And some children will begin attending a new school and meeting new teachers and friends.

Most of the time, these transitions are smooth and easy, but sometimes they can be stressful and manifest as both physical and emotional symptoms. In the fall, I often treat children for separation anxiety and school-related anxiety, sleep disorders and night terrors, stomachaches, headaches, allergies, tics and behavior problems.

Homeopathy is one of the modalities that has the most profound effects for children as they return to school. Homeopathic remedies are very safe to use; they don't have side effects like conventional pharmaceutical medicines do. They are nontoxic, highly effective, and naturally made, making them great medicine for kids of all ages, from infants to toddlers to teenagers. The small homeopathic pellets are easy to administer and taste sweet, so kids enjoy taking them. This remarkable form of medicine can help treat your whole child by addressing both their physical and emotional needs.

During a homeopathic interview, I determine how the patient is unique and how they are presenting with their complaints. This helps me find the remedy that best fits their specific symptom picture. Even though two patients can present with the same overall concern, they may have vastly different presentations and require different remedies.

Here's an example of how I was able to use phosphorus, a homeopathic remedy, to treat anxiety in a young patient:

Sally, 6, came into my office with her mother with a complaint of school-related anxiety in October, a few weeks after the school year had begun. She had started at a new school, and her parents had been trying to "wait it out" with the hope that her anxiety would go away. But after one month, going to school was still a daily struggle for Sally.

Sally was a sweet, good-natured, bright child who could talk about her flip-floppy stomachache and fear about school. She told me that she liked to drink ice-cold water to help with her stomach, and her mother told me that Sally tended to get hypoglycemic symptoms if she didn't eat at regular times. Her mom also said Sally talked and sometimes walked in her sleep and that she was afraid of the dark and monsters. At her previous school, Sally had been fine; she was social and well liked. The missing puzzle piece turned up when I asked if anything had happened the summer before school had started. Sally's mother told me that their dog had been hit and killed by a car, and that it had affected Sally strongly.

I sent Sally home with the homeopathic remedy phosphorus. Three weeks later, when Sally and her mother returned for a follow-up visit, Sally bounced into my office with a huge smile on her face and said, "Dr. Mary, I like school now!" Within three days of taking the homeopathic remedy, Sally's anxieties had greatly decreased and she had returned to her normal self.

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