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Separation Anxiety Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Feb 23, 2024

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Causes Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Risk Factors Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Diagnosis Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Treatment Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Prevention Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety is a normal developmental stage for infants and young children. Most children outgrow separation anxiety by the time they are three years old, even though it is widespread in early infancy.

In certain children, separation anxiety can be a symptom of a more serious condition called separation anxiety disorder as early as preschool.

If separation anxiety seems severe or persistent in your child, especially if it interferes with schooling or other daily activities, triggers panic attacks, or results in other problems, your child may have a separation anxiety disorder. This usually relates to the child's concern for their parents, but it may also involve a close carer.

Adults and teenagers with separation anxiety disorder may experience severe challenges when they leave the house or go to work, however, this is less common. Counseling, though, has its advantages.

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Causes Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Periodically, stressful life circumstances that need a person to part from a loved one may trigger separation anxiety disorder. The condition could also be influenced by genetics.

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Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder is diagnosed when symptoms severely impair daily functioning and are out of proportion to the developmental stage. Some possible symptoms include:

  • Anxiety that is frequent and intense when one expects or experiences being away from home or close family members excessive and persistent fear that a parent or other loved one may pass away from a disease or other disaster
  • Refusing to travel because of separation anxiety, or living in constant worry of the worst happening, such as being lost or kidnapped and having to be separated from parents or other loved ones.
  • A reluctance or unwillingness to spend the night away from home in the absence of a parent or other close relative. Not wanting a parent or other loved one to be at home by themselves or without company in the house.
  • Frequent complaints of stomach aches, headaches, or other discomfort while anticipating being separated from a parent or other close relative Relationship separation nightmares that recur.
  • Panic disorder and panic attacks, which are frequent episodes of abrupt, strong sensations of fear or terror that peak in a matter of minutes, may be linked to separation anxiety disorder.

Also Read: Mild Cognitive Impairment: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

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Risk Factors Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder typically first appears in childhood, however it can also occasionally last into adolescence and maturity.

Among the variables at risk are:

  • Stresses or losses in life that result in separation, such as the illness or death of a loved one, the passing of a beloved pet, the divorce of a parent, moving, or going off to college.

Anxiety disorders are more common in some temperaments than in others, such as:

  • A family history raises the possibility that those traits may be inherited, particularly if there are blood relatives who suffer from anxiety disorders or other challenges.
  • Environmental issues, including experiencing a separation-related disaster.
  • Extremely upsetting, separation anxiety disorder impairs social, professional, and academic functioning.

Separation anxiety disorder may coexist with the following conditions:

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Diagnosis Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

To diagnose separation anxiety disorder, it is necessary to determine whether your child is going through a normal developmental stage or whether there is a pathology present. After all other medical issues have been ruled out, your child's pediatrician could suggest that you consult with a child psychologist or child psychiatrist who specializes in anxiety disorders.

A psychiatric evaluation will probably be conducted by your child's mental health provider to help in the diagnosis of separation anxiety disorder. This evaluation may include a structured interview in which subjects including thoughts, feelings, and behavior are examined. Separation anxiety disorder may occur with other mental health conditions.

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Treatment Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Treatment for separation anxiety disorder usually consists of psychotherapy; medication is also used on occasion. When engaging in psychotherapy with a therapist, also known as talk therapy or psychological counseling, can help lessen the symptoms of separation anxiety.

For separation anxiety disorder, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a useful psychotherapy. During treatment, your child might learn how to face and manage fears associated with uncertainty and separation. In addition, parents can learn how to encourage age-appropriate independence in their kids and provide them with emotional support.

Sometimes, combining CBT with medication can be helpful if symptoms are severe. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be a choice for older kids and adults.

Also Read: Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Prevention Of Separation Anxiety Disorder

While there isn't a perfect way to prohibit youngsters from experiencing separation anxiety, using these tips could be beneficial.

You should get professional assistance as soon as possible if you believe that your child is experiencing anxiety that is significantly higher than is normal for their developmental stage. The disease can be prevented from getting worse and its symptoms can be reduced with early detection and treatment.

Follow the recommended treatment plan to prevent relapses and worsening of symptoms. See a specialist if you experience anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems so that you can create useful coping skills for your child.

Also Read: Delayed Sleep Phase: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

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