Teen Separation Anxiety Treatment & Symptoms

Understanding Separation Anxiety Across Ages

Separation anxiety is a part of the landscape of early childhood, a common and natural phase of development. Usually, by the age of three, children begin to venture into the world with confidence, leaving the safe harbor of a parent’s embrace with ease. However, when the apprehension about parting lingers or escalates, whether in children beyond this age or in adults, it can signal a deeper issue – Separation Anxiety Disorder. This condition is characterized by an intense unease at the thought of being apart from family or loved ones, to the extent that it disrupts everyday life.

While Separation Anxiety Disorder touches approximately 4% of children, many do not receive the professional support that could help them navigate these choppy emotional waters. Recognizing this disorder in adults is a recent advancement, now included in the DSM-5. Left unaddressed, the symptoms of separation anxiety disorder tend to remain, potentially steering an individual towards additional emotional challenges.

Common Signs of Separation Anxiety Disorder in Adolescence

  • Hesitation or refusal to sleep alone akin to a ship resisting leaving port.
  • A strong aversion to attending school or work, or even visiting friends’ homes, as if tied to the home dock.
  • Fearful thoughts of being ‘adrift’ without loved ones or worrying about their safety in one’s absence.
  • A physical manifestation of distress, such as headaches or stomachaches, when facing separation.
  • Persistent nightmares about separation turning slumber into a restless sea.
  • Frequent check-ins with loved ones, seeking an anchor in the form of their voice or message.
    Demonstrative distress, like tantrums, when a separation looms on the horizon.

Though the currents of separation anxiety can be strong, with understanding and the right strategies, individuals can learn to sail through these fears, charting a course towards independence and emotional resilience.

Anxiety is Different For Everyone

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