Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety Behaviors:

  • Excessive emotional distress and repeated complaints (e.g., crying, regressive behaviors, pleading with parents to stay, temper tantrums) when anticipating separation from home or close attachment figures.
  • Persistent and unrealistic worry about possible harm occurring to close attachment figures or excessive fear that they will leave and not return.
  • Persistent and unrealistic fears expressed that a future calamity will separate the child from a close attachment figure (e.g., the child or parent will be lost, kidnapped, killed, the victim of an accident).
  • Repeated complaints and heightened distress (e.g., pleading to go home, demanding to see or call a parent) after separation from home or the attachment figure has occurred.
  • Persistent fear and avoidance of being alone as manifested by excessive clinging and shadowing of a close attachment figure.
  • Frequent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a close attachment figure; refusal to sleep away from home.
  • Recurrent nightmares centering on the theme of separation.
  • Frequent somatic complaints (e.g., headaches, stomachaches, nausea) when separation from home or the attachment figure is anticipated or has occurred.
  • Excessive requests for reassurance about safety and protection from possible harm or danger.
  • Statements reflecting low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence that contribute to the fear of being alone or participating in social activities.

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