Separation anxiety disorder causes a person to worry excessively about being separated from someone who’s close to them. For example, someone with this type of anxiety may worry about being separated from a parent or caregiver.
This anxiety disorder most commonly affects children. While it’s normal for infants and toddlers to experience separation anxiety, they usually outgrow the issue once they turn 3 years old—if a child continues experiencing separation anxiety after reaching that age, there’s a chance they may have separation anxiety disorder, especially if their worries are intense enough to interfere with routine activities. It’s also important to note that although most cases of separation anxiety disorder occur in children, this condition can also affect teenagers and adults.
What Are the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder?
As noted above, the hallmark symptom of separation anxiety disorder is an intense fear of being separated from a loved one. Someone with this type of anxiety may:
Constantly worry that they’ll get lost or be kidnapped, or that their loved one will become ill or get into an accident
Have nightmares about being separated from their loved one
Refuse to leave their loved one’s side (children with this anxiety disorder are often reluctant to sleep in their own bed at night)
Experience headaches or stomachaches before having to be separated from their loved one
Anxiety Disorder Treatment Near You
Are you concerned that you or your child might have separation anxiety disorder? If so, contact me today. I have experience treating many different types of anxiety, and would love the opportunity to help you take the next step forward with managing anxiety symptoms.
Stephanie Post, PsyD. at Higher Self Psychotherapy is a certified EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapist. She works online with individual adults across California and in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco. She specializes in trauma therapy, and helps individuals with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. She uses EMDR therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and IFS therapy to help her clients thrive.