What is separation anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is being worried or nervous. Separation anxiety Separation Anxiety and Stranger Anxiety As infants develop intellectually and emotionally, they quickly learn to recognize and become attached to their parents or primary caregivers. As this bond strengthens, infants often become... read more is the normal reaction of young children to get upset and cry when someone they're attached to leaves the room. It usually starts when babies are about 8 months old and lasts until they're about 2 or 3. Separation anxiety disorder is different.
Separation anxiety disorder is when:
Anxiety at being separated from the caregiver is much stronger than normal or lasts to an older age
The anxiety keeps the child from doing everyday activities
Separation anxiety disorder is more common in preschoolers, gets less common with age, and is rare in teens
The child feels very stressed
Separation anxiety disorder may be worse after holidays and school breaks
Behavior therapy helps
What causes separation anxiety disorder?
Separation anxiety disorder usually just happens. It can be triggered by a stressful event, such as:
The death of a family member, friend, or pet
Moving to a new place
Also, children with anxious parents are often more anxious.
What are the symptoms of separation anxiety disorder?
A child with separation anxiety disorder:
Cries hard for a long time when separated from home or loved ones
Begs the loved one not to leave
When separated, can think only of the loved one coming back
Fears that something bad, like a car crash, will happen to the loved one
Acts normally and seems just fine when the loved one is around
Often, the child seems so desperate that parents can't bear to leave the child. That can affect the child's life because the child may:
Not be able to go to school
Be afraid to stay overnight with, or even visit, relatives or friends
Sometimes not stay alone in a room even when the loved one is at home
Sometimes, a child may also have physical symptoms such as:
How do doctors treat separation anxiety disorder?
Doctors treat separation anxiety disorder with:
Therapy for children and their parents or caregivers
In severe cases, medicine