Get exclusive member benefits & effect social change. Join Today
Separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood development. It commonly occurs in babies between 8 and 12 months old, and usually disappears around age 2. However, it can also occur in adults.
Some children have symptoms of separation anxiety during their grade school and teenage years. This condition is called separation anxiety disorder or SAD. Three to four percent of children have SAD.
SAD tends to indicate general mood and mental health issues. Around one-third of children with SAD will be diagnosed with mental illness as an adult.
Symptoms of SAD occur when a child is separated from parents or caregivers. Fear of separation can also cause anxiety-related behaviors. Some of the most common behaviors include:
SAD is more likely to occur in children with:
SAD can also occur after a stressful life event such as:
Children that experience three or more of the above symptoms may be diagnosed with SAD. Your doctor may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Your doctor might also watch you interact with your child. This shows whether your parenting style affects how your child deals with anxiety.
Therapy and medication are used to treat SAD. Both treatment methods can help a child deal with anxiety in a positive way.
The most effective therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With CBT, children are taught coping techniques for anxiety. Common techniques are deep breathing and relaxation.
Parent-child interaction therapy is another way to treat SAD. It has three main treatment phases:
The school environment is another key to successful treatment. Your child needs a safe place to go when they feel anxious. There should also be a way for your child to communicate with you if necessary during schools hours or other times when they’re away from home. Finally, your child’s teacher should encourage interaction with other classmates. If you have concerns about your child’s classroom, speak with the teacher, principle, or a guidance counselor.
There are no specific medications for SAD. Antidepressants are sometimes used in older children with this condition if other forms of treatment are ineffective. This is a decision that must be carefully considered by the child’s parent or guardian and the doctor. Children must be monitored closely for side effects.
Emotional and social development are both seriously affected by SAD. The condition can cause a child to avoid experiences crucial to normal development.
SAD can also affect family life. Some of these problems may include:
If your child has SAD, speak with your doctor about treatment options and ways you can help manage its effect on family life.
Written by: Shannon Johnsonon: Nov 08, 2017
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.