Separation anxiety is a medical condition that is characterized by distress and discomfort when a person is away from his or her parents or home. In fact, it is normal for a child to feel occasionally anxious when he/she is away from his/her parents. But separation anxiety is a condition where a child feels anxious at all times when they are alone. It can affect the quality of life of such a child by limiting his/her ability to engage in ordinary activities. Kids who are suffering from this condition become anxious as soon as they separate from the primary caregiver, whether the person is a parent, nanny, relation, or any other caregiver. This article provides an overview of separation anxiety.
Unlike kids who are shy and quiet, children with separation anxiety will become quite anxious when they are away from their home. This condition affects more than 3% children in the country. These children usually have other family members in their family suffering from anxiety disorders. There are complex genetic and environmental problems behind the tendency to develop separation anxiety. In fact, a certain level of separation anxiety is to be expected and is quite normal in kids between the ages of one and six years old. The first signs of this condition are seen when a child is eight to ten months old. This is the time when a kid becomes anxious when meeting a stranger which is called stranger anxiety. But when a child is suffering from separation anxiety disorder he or she may have excessive worries when separated from the caregivers, which is much greater than their peers. The worry can come up even when such a child is ready to leave for school or go to sleep. These children often have irrational fears such as a fear that his/her parents may suddenly become ill or die. They can refuse to play with friends or leave their parents due to this anxiety.
Diagnosing the condition can be quite difficult because these children have more than one symptom. Also, such kids may have frequent physical complaints. These complaints also need to be medically evaluated. A child psychiatrist is the best professional to diagnose this condition. Children suffering from this condition may refuse to leave the caregiver to go to school. They may avoid most of the activities with their peers. They have a low self-esteem and difficulty in concentrating due to the persistent worry.
This condition is usually treatable through ongoing interventions provided by the child psychiatrist. Counseling, medicines, and treatments to reduce the sources of stress that are affecting the kid. Counseling will help reduce the impact of the symptoms on his/her daily life. Antidepressants are usually prescribed to treat the symptoms of the condition. Once taken for more than 2-4 weeks, antidepressants will help reduce the symptoms of the disorder.
The aforementioned article provides an overview of separation anxiety disorder which affects more than three percent of the child population in the country.