It may worry the parents in the beginning but separation anxiety is a normal stage of development for infants where the toddler feels insecure and frets or cries when his mother, father or main caregiver goes out of his sight because of some work. This anxiety can be irritating for parents but it also helps children become more sociable as they learn to accept that their parents will not be around them to take care of them. This helps the children to become more sociable and learn to mingle with others too.
Mostly, signs of separation anxiety begin to show in babies as early as 6 or 7 months, peaks between 10 to 18 months, ease up by 2 years and evades by 3 years of age.
In rare cases, this separation anxiety can be a sign of separation anxiety disorder, that can start as early as preschool age.
What is separation anxiety disorder?
A Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) affected child worries a lot about separation from family members or other close people; it can be a pet too. The child constantly fears that something bad will happen to a family member if he or she is not with the person.
Anxiety is part of teenage. But SAD symptoms are more severe. A child with SAD over worries and fears to be away from home or family that are inappropriate for his age.
Some biological and environmental factors can lead to SAD in children. Anxiety can be genetic.
the imbalance of norepinephrine and serotonin, 2 crucial brain chemicals can also cause SAD.
A child can also suffer from SAD when he sees his family members living with anxiety and fear.
A traumatic experience like the death or accident of a loved one may also cause SAD.
The most common signs of SAD are:
Reluctant to sleep alone
Repeated nightmares of separation from family members
Worrying too much when away from home or family
Refusing to go to school
Frightened to be alone
Complaining regularly about stomach aches, headaches or muscle aches
Too much worry about self-safety
Being very clingy
Panic or temper tantrums at times of separation from family members
If you notice the above symptoms in your child for more than 4 weeks then you must consult a psychiatrist and get a proper mental health evaluation done of your child.
SAD treatment in children will depend on the symptoms, age, and general health of the child and the severity of the condition.
Treatment for SAD often involves a mix of:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT helps a child learn about his own behavior and reactions. It enables him to handle his anxiety in a better way.
Medicines. The doctor may prescribe some antidepressants which can help the child feel calmer.
Family therapy and School Input: Psychiatrists may involve the child’s school and his parents in the treatment as they both play a vital role in any kid’s life.
SAD is a mental health problem and should never be ignored. Timely action and treatment can help your child get out of this problem before it becomes more severe.