Separation Anxiety (What is it & What are the symptoms )


Separation Anxiety


Separation anxiety occurs when a person is afraid of being separated from a specific person, people, or even a pet, While many people associate separation anxiety with children, adults can also suffer from the condition.  

Researches are baffled as to what causes this illness. It is frequently found in conjunction with other anxiety-related illnesses such as panic disorder, agoraphobia, and generalised anxiety disorder. 

Separation anxiety is a normal developmental stage in babies and young children. Toddlers often experience periods of separation anxiety, but most children develop from separation anxiety by around the age of three.

 In some children, separation anxiety is a sign of a more serious condition known as separation anxiety disorder, starting at preschool age. 

Separation anxiety disorder may be present if the child’s separation anxiety appears to be intense or long-lasting, especially if it interferes with school or other daily activities, or if it is accompanied by a panic attack or other problems. Most commonly, this is related to the child’s anxiety about his  parents, but it can also be related to other close associates.

Although less common, separation anxiety disorder also affects teens and adults and can cause serious problems when leaving home or going to work. But treatment is useful.

 What is separation anxiety disorder in adults?

Separation anxiety is a normal element of childhood development for children from six months to three years, If your child’s symptoms persist throughout late childhood, he or she may be diagnosed with child separation anxiety disorder. 

Adult separation anxiety disorder will be diagnosed if your separation anxiety persists throughout adulthood. Anxiety disorder symptoms in children and adults are similar. Separation anxiety is frequently connected with intense dread or worry over being separated from parents or caregivers in children. 

This can cause a youngster to be less willing to participate in events or social experiences, such as spending the night at a friend’s house or attending summer sleepaway camp. Adults experience worry when they are separated from their children or family members or spouses. Instead of school, work functions or other tasks may suffer. These might be one of a the risk factors.

 What are the symptoms

Anxiety disorders include separation anxiety. agoraphobia and panic disorder are two other types of anxiety disorders. 

Separation anxiety is defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual for mental health issues, the DSM-5, as having many of the following symptoms: 

  • Unusual angst over being separated from a person or pet.
  • They are overly concerned that another person will be harmed if they leave them alone.
  • increased fear of being alone
  • When they are aware that they will be separated from another person soon, they experience physical symptoms.
  • Being alone causes a great deal of anxiety.
  • the need to know where a spouse or loved one is at all times.

What causes adult separation anxiety?

An adult’s separation anxiety might be caused by the absence of a parent, partner, or child. Their worry could also be the result of another underlying mental health problem. These can include delusions caused by psychotic disorders or fear of change caused by autism spectrum condition.

People may label an adult with separation anxiety disorder as controlling or overprotective on occasion.
However, their acts are frequently an adult’s way of communicating their concerns of separation. 

 How long does it last?

How long the separation anxiety lasts depends on the reaction of the child and the parent. In some cases, separation anxiety may persist from early childhood to elementary school, depending on the child’s temperament. Separation anxiety, which interferes with the  normal activity years of age children, can be a sign of  deeper anxiety disorders. If  an older child suddenly experiences separation anxiety, other problems such as bullying and abuse can occur. 

Separation anxiety is different from the usual feelings when an older child does not want  to leave the parent (usually can  be overcome if the child is sufficiently distracted). And children understand the impact this has on parents. If the child returns to the room each time he cries or cancels her plan, the child can continue to use this tactic to avoid parting.


Separation anxiety disorders cause great stress and problems that function in social situations and at work and school. 

Disorders that may be associated with separation anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attack, Phobia, Social Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia and Other Anxiety Disorders. 
  • Obsessive Disorder.
  • Depression


Adult separation anxiety disorder treatment is similar to treatment for other anxiety disorders. Your doctor may recommend a number of therapies, or you may need to try several before finding one that works for you. Treatment options include:

group therapy family therapy dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) drugs such as antidepressants, buspirone (BuSpar), or benzodiazepines.

There is no surefire way to prevent separation anxiety  in your child, but these recommendations can help. 

  • If you are worried that your child’s anxiety is much worse than in normal developmental stages, seek professional advice as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help relieve symptoms and prevent them from getting worse. 
  •  Follow the treatment plan to  prevent relapse and worsening of symptoms. 
  • If you have anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems, seek professional treatment so that you can teach your child healthy coping skills. 


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