Separation Anxiety Disorder

By: Alexis Taylor

What is SAD? (Separation Anxiety Disorder)

In S.A.D, people display excessive anxiety when away from home or from those to whom they are emotionally attached. Children with separation anxiety disorder fear being lost from their family or fear something bad happening to a family member if they separated from them.

What Causes Separation Anxiety Disorder?

Separation anxiety often develops after a significant or stressful or traumatic event happened in the child's life, such as a stay in the hospital, the death of a loved one or pet, or even a change in environment.


  • lasting worry that something bad will happen to the parent or caregiver if the child leaves
  • Refusal to go to school in order to stay with the caregiver
  • Fear of being alone
  • Bed wetting
  • Complaints of physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches
  • Repeated temper tantrums

How Common Is S.A.D?

Separation anxiety affects 4%-5% of children in America ages 7 to 11 years. It is less common in teenagers, affecting about 1.3% of American teens. Although it affects boys and girls equally.


  • Psychotherapy (''talking'' therapy) - is to help the child tolerate being separated from the caregiver without the separation causing distress or interfering with function.

  • Medication or an Anti-depressant may be used to treat normal or severe cases of separation anxiety disorder.

Can I prevent S.A.D?

There are no official or known ways to help prevent this disease but, recognizing and acting on symptoms when they appear can help reduce stress and help prevent problems associated with not going to school.

Also another way to help prevent S.A.D. is to help let children grow in their independence and increase their self-esteem through support and praise.