{Mental Health Week} Separation Anxiety Disorder

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Separation Anxiety Disorder is most commonly recognized as a juvenile disorder in which children experience signs of anxiety when separated from their primary caregiver. In more recent times however, adults have become increasingly diagnosed with separation anxiety disorder. Adult separation anxiety is much the same as the disorder as that faced by children, however the primary caregiver can be any major attachment figure in the adults life. Most often these attachment figures include spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings and or friends. Children who experience separation anxiety during their juvenile years very often go to live their adult lives anxiety free. Conversely children who do not experience separation anxiety during their childhood still have the potential to develop this disorder during their adult years.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

The symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder can be very similar to childhood separation anxiety and may include:

  • Extreme anxiety and fear when separated from major attachment figures. This anxiety may manifest in the form of full blown panic attacks
  • Avoidance of being alone
  • Fears that something bad will happen to their loved ones

Tips for coping with separation anxiety

Below are some strategies to help:

  • Get Busy – Plan to be with friends, read a good book or enjoy a favourite hobby. If you can keep yourself from thinking about what is scaring you, your anxiety will go down and you won’t behave in a way that will make you feel worse.
  • Recognize that your emotional barometer is overly sensitized and may pick up false positives. Your partner/loved one hasn’t forgotten you – he or she might simply be busy.
  • Stop asking for reassurance. It may elicit the very response you fear the most – rejection.
  • Keep a journal. It is a good way to express your feelings without damaging your relationship.
  • If your anxiety is interfering with your daily life, seek professional therapy/help.

amandaAmanda Ogden is from Sydney Australia, and has spent the past 13 years working within the welfare industry in both administration and case management assisting people with mental health issues, mild intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, drug & alcohol, homelessness gain employment. She also loves travelling, creating jewellery, music, friends and family.

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