What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder?
Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is a psychological condition in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (e.g. a parent, caregiver, or siblings).
Some children also develop physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach aches, at the thought of being separated.
The fear of separation causes great distress to the child and may interfere with the child’s normal activities.
Causes Of Separation Anxiety Disorder:
Although the definite cause is yet unknown, the following factors are thought to play a role:
- Separation anxiety disorder is likely to be caused by the combination of genetic and environmental vulnerabilities.
- Common in children with family history of anxiety.
- Children whose mothers were stressed during pregnancy with them tend to be more at risk for developing this disorder.
- Children whose parents are over-protective may be more prone to separationanxiety disorder.
Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety Disorder:
The following symptoms are exhibited:
- An unrealistic and lasting worry that something bad will happen to the parent or caregiver if the child leaves
- An unrealistic and lasting worry that something bad will happen to the child if he or she leaves the caregiver
- Refusal to go to school in order to stay with the caregiver
- Refusal to go to sleep without the caregiver being nearby or to sleep away from home
- Fear of being alone
- Nightmares about being separated
- Bed wetting
- Complaints of physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches, on school days
- Repeated temper tantrums or pleading
Diagnosis Of Separation Anxiety Disorder:
In order to be diagnosed with separation anxiety disorder, one needs to display at least three of the following criteria:
- Recurrent excessive distress when anticipating or experiencing separation from home or from major attachment figures
- Persistent and excessive worry about losing major attachment figures or about possible harm to them, such as illness, injury, disasters, or death
- Persistent and excessive worry about experiencing an untoward event (e.g., getting lost, being kidnapped, having an accident, becoming ill) that causes separation from a major attachment
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to go out, away from home, to school, to work, or elsewhere because of fear of separation
- Persistent and excessive fear of or reluctance about being alone or without major attachment figures at home or in other settings
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to sleep away from home or to go to sleep without being near a major attachment figure
- Repeated nightmares involving the theme of separation
- Repeated complaints of physical symptoms (e.g., headaches, stomachaches, nausea, vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated
Treatment Of Separation Anxiety Disorder:
Two treatment options are available for separation anxiety disorder.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- anti-anxiety medications
By : Natural Health News