Separation Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Separation Anxiety Disorder: symptoms, causes, and treatment


It is important to be aware of the difference in separation anxiety, which usually occurs at the stage of development of infants and young children, and separation anxiety disorder.

When a child older than 3 years has separation anxiety, it can be a sign of the disorder. Much more if the anxiety is suffered by the stage of adolescence, youth or adulthood.

If you suspect the disorder, consult a psychologist and allow an evaluation to determine whether or not there is a degree of separation anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of separation anxiety disorder

Although it is a disorder that occurs most frequently in children, it can also be suffered in adolescence, youth and even during adulthood.

Its symptoms may be related to the characteristics of panic disorder since there are episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety.

The fear or terror that originates from the disorder can reach a peak in a matter of a few minutes.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

However, a person is diagnosed with this disorder when their symptoms are excessive in relation to age, and when there are signs of significant distress that can impede the person’s good performance and functionality.

The symptoms that manifest most frequently are:

Recurring and excessive anguish not only when away from home or loved ones but when such a possibility is anticipated

Frequent concern about losing a family member or friend due to illness, natural disasters, and other conditions

Affliction for believing that you could be kidnapped or suffer from an event that separates you from your family or loved ones

Fear of the separation that leads to the rejection of having a social life outside the home

Anguish at the idea of ​​being alone

Frequent nightmares related to separation episodes

There are also physical symptoms that manifest when the separation of a loved one is suspected, these can be stomach and headaches.

Risk factors that cause the disorder

Separation anxiety is a disorder that can arise due to stress caused by a loss at some time in life, especially during childhood.

The separation caused by the death or illness of a loved one or the loss of a pet causes the conditions for the disorder. The same happens after the divorce of the parents.

Even a move or change of school can cause separation anxiety disorder.

Now, keep in mind that there are temperaments that are more prone to the disorder than others.

When the aforementioned factors join the existence of blood relatives with anxiety problems or anxiety disorder, the chances of suffering separation anxiety are higher.


Some experts claim that separation anxiety disorder can be inherited and that when genetic inheritance is combined with risk factors, the disorder occurs.

On the other hand, it is necessary to bear in mind that this disorder can sometimes cause difficulties to work, academic environments and other social situations.

Effective treatment to combat the symptoms of the disorder

It is necessary to know that the disorder called separation anxiety can be accompanied by symptoms of others, such as generalized anxiety disorder or compulsive obsessive.

Other disorders such as social anxiety and agoraphobia may also occur. That is why sometimes a specialist can recommend medications that help fight symptoms.

However, the most effective treatment is a therapeutic process guided by a psychologist, through which you will learn to control the symptoms and master your reactions.

As you progress through the process, you can be more prepared to face separation situations.


An online psychologist is an excellent option for the treatment of psychotherapies, represents more comfortable conditions for your therapeutic process and guarantees the effectiveness of the treatment.

If you suffer from the symptoms of this disorder, or if your child has them, do not hesitate to consult a specialist.

It is also important that you share this information on your social networks, it will allow your friends to know what to do in the presence of separation anxiety and its symptoms.

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