what is separation anxiety?

Could you have separation anxiety?

If you've been watching the news lately, there has been a lot of spotlight on the thousands of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. Whatever your political ideology is, we can safely agree that no child wants to be away from her caregivers for a long amount of time. Many of these kids might go on to develop something called Separation Anxiety Disorder.

To put it in simple terms, Separation Anxiety Disorder occurs when an individual experiences excessive feelings of anxiety when he or she has been separated from a caregiver. Now it's quite normal for a little child to cry when she is dropped off in a strange environment or to be nervous on her first day of school-everyone is nervous in a new environment. But when a child younger than 18, has been experiencing extreme anxiety-and sometimes even panic attacks, when he or she has to be separated from a caregiver, then that child might be diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder.

With Separation Anxiety comes a fear of being left alone, a recurrent fear that one's caregiver will be harmed, constant and extreme worry that one will be separated from a caregiver or loved one. Sometimes the child will have nightmares regarding separation from her loved one, and these nightmares are so terrifying that the child cannot sleep separately from the caregiver. So you'll see kids wanting to sleep on their parents' beds or in their parents' rooms.

Often times, kids with Separation Anxiety are pretty much attached at their caregiver's hip. They'll follow mom, dad, grandma, around the house, they carefully watch to ensure that their caregiver isn't going to leave them and they have painful anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety gets so bad that the child could fall ill.

Although Separation Anxiety is much more common in children, sometimes, adults experience Separation Anxiety. Sometimes an adult is overly attached to another person (it could be another adult or a child). They worry when the person leaves their sight, they ask tons of questions about the person's whereabouts, they might insist that they go everywhere with the loved one. To the person who is on the receiving end, he or she might tag the person as "Controlling, nosey or needy." There is a constant worry that something bad will happen to their loved one, which is why they want to know so much information about the person.

Now remember, we aren't talking about normal concern. I'm talking about concern so big that the person is worried sick all the time. There is an overarching fear that something bad will happen to their loved one. This might have been triggered by having lost a loved one in the past or some other traumatic experience.

Do you ever find yourself worrying constantly about a loved one? Are your friends or loved ones always complaining that you keep tabs on them all the time? Do you find that you can't go to bed alone? Perhaps you might have some symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder. Although more common in kids, it could happen with adults. If you're tired of experiencing anxiety, worry and you're always sick to your stomach, give me a call.

I provide counseling services for women in the Murrieta area who experience various forms of anxiety. The first step is calling me on 951-905-3181 for a free 15 minute consultation call. During this call we'll talk about what you've been experiencing and how we can work together to help you find your calm. I also provide online counseling and therapy to women who live in California. You don't have to feel stuck. Help is a phone call away.