Most children display separation anxiety at a very young age – usually between 6 and 14 months – when they are separated from a parent or caregiver; separation anxiety disorder children suffer from excessive anxiety well beyond this age.  Separation anxiety disorder children experience symptoms of anxiety disorder between 6 and 11 years of age, and in extreme cases the anxiety may extend into the teen years.  Separation anxiety disorder children may experience the unrealisitic fear that something bad will happen either to him or herself or to a parent while they are apart; they may refuse to go to school or to go to sleep on their own.  Children with separation anxiety disorder may have nightmares about separation and complain about physical symptoms such as headache, upset stomach, and vomiting.  Some children may throw repeated temper tantrums or become hysterical when separated from a caretaker.  Separation anxiety disorder children may be treated by a psychotherapist to condition them to being separated from a parent without trauma.  In some cases, the anxiety may partly due to the parent, and both parent and child need to be treated.  Some pediatricians will treat extreme cases with antidepressants, and some children are helped with positive reinforcement.

What is the difference between normal separation anxiety and separation anxiety disorder children? Separation anxiety in infants is a normal developmental phase which occurs when the child begins to understand that he or she is a separate person from the parent.  Separation anxiety disorder occurs much later in childhood and interferes with normal school and social activities.

What symptoms do separation anxiety disorder children exhibit? Children with separation anxiety experience unreasonable fears about separation from a caregiver or parent.  They feel that something will happen to them or their parent during the separation.  Physical symptoms such as headache and stonachache are common, as well as refusal to go to school or to sleep alone.

How are separation anxiety disorder children diagnosed? Separation anxiety disorder is normally diagnosed through the behavioral symptoms.  There are no laboratory tests for diagnosing separation anxiety disorder, although blood tests or X-rays may be ordered to rule out other causes, such as an illness or reaction to a medication, which may be responsible for the symptoms.

What causes separation anxiety disorder? Separation Children anxiety disorder may have a variety of causes.  Research suggests that there is a hereditary component to anxiety in both children and adults; separation anxiety disorder children may have experienced some type of stress or trauma, such as divorce, death of a loved one, or a move to an unfamiliar place.

How is separation anxiety disorder treated? For children with mild cases of separation anxiety disorder, medical treatment is usually unnecessary; however, if the anxiety is interfering withh the child going to school, psychological treatment may be necessary.  Separation anxiety disorder children generally benefit from psychotherapy which conditions them to remodel their behavior and experience separation more positively.