Separation Anxiety Disorder

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 22, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Separation Anxiety Disorder

What is Separation Anxiety Disorder?

Infants older than 7 months become increasingly aware of their caregivers and become emotionally tied to them. If suddenly left to daycare or nannies, they can become anxious and disturbed as they are aware of strangers near them. In 3 to 4 year old children the separation anxiety disorder is considered a normal and healthy developmental stage. It is diagnosed as a disorder when anxiety and fear go to extremes or are unexpected for the child’s age. These children start having surreal fears that something awful will happen to them. Their behavior is clingy, tearful, unsociable and most often they refuse to leave their home. Some youngsters will be afraid to sleep separately from their parents.

What Causes Separation Anxiety Disorder?

Genetics-If a child’s parent was diagnosed with anxiety disorder it is very probable that the child will develop the same disorder. So the disorder may have genetic roots. Particular personality characteristics, such as shyness, may make a child prone to this disorder.

Past experience and stress-Unpleasant or painful past experience may be responsible for this disorder in children. Loss of a family member, continuous hospital stay or other traumatic split may be a lesson for your offspring that the world is not constant and cozy. Other momentous changes, such as moving house or changing school may also increase susceptibility.

Learnt behavior-Excessively anxious or over-caring parents may instill fears in their children. Some parenting methods, such as tiptoed sneaking off, make a good ground for developing this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Children affected with this disorder are often described as demanding, intrusive, and in need of constant care and attention. The child’s excessive demands often become a source of parental frustration, creating resentment and conflict in the family. Sometimes, children with the disorder are described as unusually compliant, conscientious and eager to please. The children may have somatic complaints that result in physical examinations and medical checkups.
Depressed mood is frequently present and may become more persistent over time. Developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached, is evidenced by three (or more) of the following symptoms:

• recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

• persistent and excessive worry about losing, or about possible harm befalling, major attachment figures

• persistent and excessive worry that an untoward event will lead to separation from a major attachment figure (e.g., getting lost or being kidnapped)

• persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation

• persistently and excessively fearful or reluctant to be alone or without major attachment figures at home or without significant adults in other settings

• persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a near a major attachment figure or to sleep away from home

• repeated nightmares involving the theme of separation

• repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as stomachaches, headaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

The disturbance lasts at least 4 weeks. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social or other important areas of individual functioning.

Classical Treatment of Separation Anxiety Disorder

In the classical treatment approach the separation anxiety disorder is customarily treated with a form of psychotherapy and/or prescription medicines, though there is great controversy about putting children on schedule d r u g treatment.

Holistic Treatment of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Alternative therapeutic methods for easing separation anxiety include relaxation and deep breathing techniques. Herbal and homeopathic cures joined with psychotherapy prove to be very efficient and less harmful for developing children. Hence, a holistic approach is an excellent ailment in easing separation anxiousness, along with a balanced nourishment and physical exercise

Read also: Sea Sickness

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

Related Posts