Exam result anxiety puts students to test

May 20th, 2009 - 11:20 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The results are just a few days away, and some of the 1.45 million students expecting their Class 10 and 12 board examination scores are going through intense anxiety, depression and insomnia and are even fighting suicidal tendencies.
Counsellors and psychiatrists in the city say their phones are ringing off the hook as students and their parents are giving vent to their tension about the exam results.

The Class 12 results are expected to be declared Friday by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Class 10 results will follow soon.

Samir Parikh, a consultant psychiatrist in Max Healthcare, said for the past few days he has been getting at least three panic calls every day and the number is expected to increase once the results are out.

“These calls increase after the board results are declared. Usually, these are calls from anxious students and parents,” Parikh told IANS.

Psychiatrist S.K. Sharma, director in Ethoshealthcare, a body and mind clinic in Green Park, attributes the anxiety to the cut throat competition.

“In this competitive atmosphere, each student is trying to outdo the other which leads to stress and pangs of anxiety,” Sharma said.

“The problem seems to be escalating in recent years owing to the ever increasing cutoffs in good colleges and universities,” he said.

Sharma said a Class 12 student from a reputed school visited his hospital with sudden sullen and avoidance behaviour.

“He was otherwise social and outgoing with jovial personality. Only after sessions of counselling over a long period of time, we could explore his anticipation and helped him become easy about the possible outcome,” Sharma said.

“We get complaints of sleeplessness, gastric ailments, headache or psychological complaints like depression, anxiety, hopelessness, avoidance behaviour, aggressive behaviour and in some cases suicidal tendencies,” he added.

Gorav Gupta, a psychiatrist in Tulsi Rehabilitation Center, said the acute anxiety during the exam result time leads to suicides in some cases. Last year, he said, eight students committed suicide in Delhi.

“Students are unable to handle the pressure and resort to such drastic measures,” Gupta said.

“Students are also driven into such action when one of their peers is seen to have taken such a step. It give them a justifiable reason to act.”

He said in moderate cases supportive therapy is enough. But where children are suffering from depression or talking about taking an extreme step medical treatment and counselling is necessary.

Sukhmani Singh, 18, a student of Mahadevi Birla Shishu Vidyalaya, is expecting her Class 12 exam results. She is watching a lot of TV to avoid the fear.

“I don’t talk to my parents about it. I spoke to a counsellor and he guided me into freeing my mind of the tension and relaxing with my friends.”

Anchal Bajaj, of Manavsthali School, said she was extremely nervous.

“I am scared about my performance. But I am more nervous because of the image and the hype board exams have. Everyone wants to know about your results. This scares me more. What if I don’t do well? I cannot sleep properly because of it.”

Experts suggest teachers and parents must be trained to keep expectations of their students or children realistic.

“They should be counselled about how to manage stress well so as not to pressurise the child, who is quite vulnerable,” said psychiatrist Gupta.

“Parents should motivate their children and share their feelings. They should not burden the children with their expectations and instead be a friend to them,” he said.

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