Separation Anxiety Disorder

We’re all a little bit empty when we are far from home and the people we love, but imagine a situation where being separated from those close to you makes your life completely unbearable.

Separation anxiety disorder is a psychological problem where people experience overwhelming feelings of distress when they are in unfamiliar situations away from the people they know and love. It’s not just a case of missing the people you love; separation anxiety disorder is a severe condition that causes debilitating problems to sufferer’s lives.

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Separation Anxiety Disorder in Children

Separation anxiety disorder in children is only diagnosed if the child is over six years old, as it’s very common for younger children to feel some degree of trepidation over being separated from their parents and being in unfamiliar situations with strangers. The fear also has to be overwhelmingly severe and completely out of the ordinary before it can truly be categorized as separation anxiety disorder.

Children suffering from separation anxiety disorder have a wide range of symptoms. The most common is a refusal to go to school in order to stay with their mother or father. This is a sure sign of separation anxiety disorder, as it often interferes with education.

Children suffering from the disorder are also often scared of being alone and express it with temper tantrums and begging to stay with their parents. They might also inexplicably get headaches and stomachaches on days when they need to be separated from parents. In many circumstances this is not playacting, the physical symptoms are a genuine manifestation of separation anxiety disorder.

Separation Anxiety Disorder in Adults

Separation anxiety disorder in adults was once completely unrecognized, but current estimates state that over 7% of the adult population suffer from it. It’s even more common than separation anxiety disorder in children.

It can be incredibly difficult for adults to live with separation anxiety disorder as it can easily destroy relationships. Usually the object of the separation anxiety is the romantic partner of the afflicted, and few people can take that level of neediness and clinginess from their partner. For many people it can kill romantic feelings for their partner to display such a huge amount of personal weakness.

Sadly, many adults who suffer from separation anxiety disorder never marry or manage to maintain a stable relationship. That is how bad the effect can be on people’s lives.

Separation anxiety in adults seems to be most common among people who have never been to college, or have a generally low level of education. It has been linked to low self-esteem and confidence problems.


Separation anxiety disorder is upsetting both in adults and in children. It has a profound effect on both the sufferer and the object of the sufferer’s attachment. Children sometimes grow out of separation anxiety disorder, but it often needs to be dealt with by a professional. In an adult, separation anxiety disorder should be dealt with as soon as possible with counseling.


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