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What Is Separation Anxiety?

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What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separations anxiety is, as its name suggests, the anxiety, fear or discomfort people feel when they separate from their family or their loved ones. There is a general belief that it only affects children, but the truth is that it also affects adolescents and adults, although to a lesser extent. If not treated adequately, it could lead to detrimental consequences not only on the patient, but the people around him or her. Due to this, it is crucial for people to know how to identify, prevent and/or treat such a disorder. We have prepared a guide that will help you better understand separation anxiety. [RELATED: separation anxiety counseling Eastchester]

Possible Causes and Symptoms

Despite all the thorough research done on the topic, there are no concrete causes found yet for separation anxiety. However, there are risk factors and possible causes for it. For the sake of practicality and simplicity, these factors can be grouped into genetic and social. Studies have shown that people who have a history in their families of panic disorder or depression are more vulnerable to suffer from separation anxiety. On the other hand, social influences play an important role too. Children who have overprotective and invasive parents may suffer from separation anxiety more easily than others. Also, people, not only children, who have experienced highly stressful situations that have heavily impacted their lives, can develop this disorder. Examples of this are death of a close relative or pet, moving from school or home, or any event that has been traumatic.


There are different approaches for treating separation anxiety. For older children and adults, professionals recommend psychotherapy, changing some parenting techniques, anti-anxiety medication prescribed by the doctor and, in some cases, family therapy. Moreover, treatment for younger children is slightly different. Instead of therapy or medications, the treatment is more focused towards improving some parenting techniques, where communication is key. Experts suggest that parents show understanding and reassure their children they will return, be calm and sympathetic, practice short term separations inside the house, and do not show their anxiety. Making quick departures after naps or mealtimes is also a good idea because children are more vulnerable to anxiety when they are hungry, sick or exhausted.

We hope this article has been helpful to you. And, please remember that even though there are some guidelines to deal with separation anxiety, it is important to seek professional assistance if your child starts showing symptoms. Every child is different and so is every case.

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