‘Separation Anxiety’
 

 

Problem in Children

By: Damilola Aliu - Psychology Dept.

Some children if separated from their caregivers become anxious and upset. They cry loudly and cannot be consoled by anyone but their caregivers. This is however a normal reaction of child to separation. With normal development, however, most infants come  to understand that their caregivers will return with time and they find ways to comfort themselves while their caregivers are away.

Some children continue to be extremely anxious when separated from their caregiver, even into childhood and adolescent age.

Separation anxiety is not diagnosed unless a child shows symptoms for at least 4 weeks and the symptoms seriously affects the child’s ability to function in every day life.

 

What to look out for:

  • Children with this emotional disorder may refuse to go to school because they fear separation from the parents.
  •  They cannot sleep at night unless they are with their caregivers.
  • They experience nightmares with fears of separation.
  •  If separated from their parents, they worry so much that something bad will happen to them.
  •  They exaggerate fears of natural events (thunder, storm, lightening) and or robbers, kidnappers, and accidents.
  • They may have stomachaches and headaches, become nauseated and vomit if forced to separate from their parents.

This problem is more common in girls than in boys and if left untreated can recur frequently throughout childhood and adolescent, significantly interfering with the child’s schooling and peer relationships.

 

Causes

It may be triggered off by severely stressful life events such as:

  • Child abuse.
  • The loss of parents, siblings or loved ones.
  •  Institutionalization (e.g. being placed into an orphanage, into foster care).
  • Moving to a new house. What should parents do?

Persuade the child to confront and remain in the presence of the feared situation (by leaving the child), then very gradually expose him/her to progressively longer duration of time that you are absent from him. Eventually, the child gets used to it over time and becomes less anxious when the parents leave home.

 

Medications may sometimes also be required to treat Separation Anxiety problems if the problem is severe and persistent. Both antidepressants and anxiety reducing medications have been used with success. Children who are using these medications should meet regularly with a mental health therapist so that they can be closely monitored.

Thumbnail APN Stake Holders' meeting on Mental Health bill held at Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba- Lagos.          
More inNewsFlash  

Trendy Article

Separation Anxiety
Tuesday, 08 August 2017
Thumbnail  ‘Separation Anxiety’     Problem in Children By: Damilola Aliu - Psychology Dept. Some children if separated from their caregivers become anxious and upset. They cry loudly and cannot be consoled by...
More inC&A Articles  

Hospital Map

Referals

Community Services

News Stand

NewsLetter Subscription

Discussion Forum

Designed By MULTIDOL GV 08030690944