Separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood development that occurs between the ages of eight months and fourteen months during which children might be uncomfortable or afraid of unfamiliar people and places.

A child who experiences these issues past the age of six years old with symptoms that interfere with everyday life may be struggling with Separation Anxiety Disorder.

About Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety Disorder can lead to children experiencing academic problems, family issues, school refusal, or other social issues. Families who seek out Separation Anxiety Disorder Treatment may have a child who recently experienced a major change or trauma in their life such as the death of a relative or a pet, a hospital stay, moving to a new home, or changing schools.

Often times, children who have Separation Anxiety Disorder come from a close knit family where they become fearful when separated from a parent or primary caregiver. This can lead to depression and places stress on the family unit as a whole.

Sometimes children experience physical symptoms like stomachaches or headaches as the result of fears related to Separation Anxiety Disorder. These symptoms can resurface or worsen when the child is facing stressful situations or feels that their sense of stability is being threatened. Also, typical separation milestones at an older age (such as going to college) can be a trigger and reignite anxiety.

Some symptoms to look for when considering if your child may be benefit from Separation Anxiety Treatment are the following:

  • Disproportionate distress when separating from parent or primary caregiver
  • Excessive homesickness
  • Unrealistic worrying that something bad will happen to loved ones if the child leaves
  • Fears of never again reuniting with loved ones after a period of separation
  • Reluctance or refusal to go to school or social activities without a parent
  • Persistent nightmares (which may lead to desire to sleep with parents or siblings)
  • Refusal to go to sleep without the primary caregiver nearby
  • Bed wetting
  • Physical symptoms, such as stomachaches, nausea, and headaches related to anxiety
  • Fear of being alone
  • Persistent temper tantrums or begging/pleading when faced with separation

Separation Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Families impacted by Separation Anxiety Disorder can benefit from a combination of parent support and individual Separation Anxiety Treatment for the child. Separation Anxiety Disorder Treatment supports the child learning to feel safe in the world without doubting their secure attachment to loved ones (even when not physically together). Additionally, Separation Anxiety Treatment helps the child to increase independence by building confidence and coping skills that they will be able to utilize in all areas of their life. Separation Anxiety Treatment can also be utilized to help family members better understand Separation Anxiety Disorder so that they can create a supportive environment that encourages positive changes for the child.

If you would like to speak with a therapist about Separation Anxiety Disorder, or if you need assistance in determining if your family member might benefit from Separation Anxiety help, call or email today.