Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is characterized by a child’s extreme unwillingness to separate from a parent, other attachment figures, or the home.
In order to be diagnosed with SAD, the child must experience these feelings for at least 4 weeks.
- Rates of SAD decrease into adolescence.
- 4% of children and young adolescents have SAD.
- When separated from attachment figures (e.g. parents), children with SAD often must know exactly where their loved ones are
- Many children become homesick and are unable to stay away from home (i.e. difficulty attending school or camp or going over to friend’s houses)
- Children may also fear that they or their attachment figure will get sick or injured
- Children often have a hard time sleeping alone and experience nightmares
Children may complain of physical symptoms during a separation situation including:
- Stomach aches