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Separation Anxiety Disorder goes beyond the Norm

Feb 28, 2008
Almost every child ever born suffers from a touch of separation anxiety at some point in the toddler years. Somewhere between the ages of about 18 months and three years, a child will have an incredibly difficult time when a parent is out of sight. Crying, temper tantrums and overall agitation and angst are not uncommon. When these symptoms do not go away with appropriate distractions or they persist later in life, separation anxiety disorder might be present.

Separation disorder is said to affect about 4% of children from the ages of four up. When a child suffers from severe angst and fears about leaving home or being away from parents or other family, red flags are generally raised. It is important to keep in mind that actual separation anxiety disorder does go well beyond normal homesickness or fears, however.

Some of the more common behaviors in children with this specific disorder include:

- Use of avoidance tactics to not separate themselves from parents or loved ones. They will try everything they can think of to not have to go somewhere by themselves.

- Extreme defiance about going to school, day care or other places where they will be separated from their caregivers.

- Following behaviors. Children that incessantly follow their parents or other family members around might have issues with separation anxiety disorder.

- Fear of sleeping alone. While this can be a normal phase in childhood, children with separation anxiety disorder tend to take this to a new level. They will sometimes flatly refuse to sleep alone and will repeatedly turn up in their parents' room at night.

- Nightmares. Children with this problem quite often have nightmares about being parted from friends or family.

Children with bona fide separation disorder quite often benefit from professional guidance and medical support. The condition is one that can be conquered, but it will take some effort on the family's part, as well as the child's.

One of the biggest problems that children with separation anxiety disorder face is the fact the more serious form is often brushed off as a normal "phase." While each of the symptomatic scenarios are normal to an extent, when a child takes them beyond the norm or they persist too long, help is generally advised. The unfortunate thing about the disorder is that children are often unwittingly depriving themselves of normal, enjoyable childhood activities due to their overwhelming fears of separation.

When its symptoms appear, however, it is wise for parents to pay attention and react accordingly. Professionals can help children overcome their fears and learn to experience life more independently.
About the Author
Martin Richfield has been involved in online business since 1996. He uses article marketing as his primary traffic source. He has been involved in a number of industries which gives him the knowledge to write on a broad range of subjects. For more details go to: http://anxiety.smartbizzness.com
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