Separation Anxiety Disorder

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety 8-14 days of infancy. It is a situation that occurs between months. During this period, the baby cannot bear to be separated from the primary caregiver, when he leaves, he cries and gets into trouble. Separation anxiety disorder seen in this period is a normal condition suitable for the development of the child. However, until the age of 3-4, the child learns to stay away from the caregiver through repetitive experiences.

What is separation anxiety disorder?

We speak of separation anxiety disorder when separation anxiety is more extreme than expected for the child’s developmental stage and becomes disruptive to the child’s daily life. Children with separation anxiety disorder experience extreme fear and anxiety about leaving their home and caregivers. When they are separated from their loved ones, they worry about their situation, they fear that they will lose them and that they will never see them again. They may think that their parents will be kidnapped, have an accident, and die. It is not only seen at young ages. It can also occur in adolescence and adulthood.

What are the symptoms of separation anxiety?

  • Inability to stand separation from caregivers, crying, distress

  • Sleeping alone, don’t stay in another room, have trouble standing alone

  • Sticking with a parent

  • Refusal to go to school

  • Having nightmares about separation

  • Physical symptoms such as headache, stomachache, nausea, vomiting in case of or anticipation of separation

  • Fears of being kidnapped, burglary, bad things might happen to loved ones

What are the causes of separation anxiety?

There are many factors in the emergence of separation anxiety disorder.

Genetics is an important factor. Studies have found that children whose parents have anxiety and depressive disorders have a high rate of anxiety disorders and separation anxiety disorders.

Separation anxiety may begin after stressful life events. Situations such as the loss of a loved one or an animal, moving, migration, divorce, school change, separation from parents can trigger separation anxiety.

Overprotective parents may prevent the development of the child’s ability to be alone and cause separation anxiety.

How is separation anxiety diagnosed?

If separation anxiety symptoms are present for more than 4 weeks and adversely affect the child’s daily life, a specialist application is required.

Separation anxiety disorder can be similar to other psychiatric disorders. Social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attack etc. must be distinguished.

The diagnosis of separation anxiety disorder is made after a detailed history and examination by a specialist.

What is the treatment for separation anxiety disorder?

In separation anxiety disorder, the treatment is planned to include the child, family, school and other environments where the child is present. Cognitive behavioral therapies, informing the family and drug treatments can be used in treatment depending on the condition of the child and family. Recently, play therapy has also been used to treat separation anxiety.

How should a child with separation anxiety be treated?

  • First, understand the child’s anxieties and fears, and don’t blame them for them.

  • Talking about their anxieties and fears will help the child relax. So always be open to listening.

  • It is not easy for your child to reach the goal you want them to do right away. Therefore, it is necessary to start gradually with simple steps. You can get support from an expert to plan this.

  • Being anxious will make the situation worse. That’s why you should control your anxiety and get support if necessary.

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