Separation Anxiety Counselling in London
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation Anxiety Disorder (also known as SAD) is a mental health problem that usually affect children and can be defined as excessive anxiety concerning separation from home and/or from the adults to whom the child is emotionally attached to. When separated from their loved ones, children who struggle with separation anxiety can show signs such as withdrawal, apathy, sadness or difficulty concentrating on daily tasks such as playing, reading, drawing. They may become afraid of monsters, darkness, animals, travelling, potential accidents, and situations perceived as dangerous for themselves and their family. They can complain that nobody loves them, and can show anger or aggression against those who are forcing separation.
Children who struggle dealing with separation are in need of constant attention and often become a source of frustration for parents. Sometimes, when children who struggle with separation anxiety present as eager to please, they can complain about somatic problems such as tummy aches and headaches. The onset of separation anxiety disorder symptoms typically manifests during childhood. However, separation anxiety can continue well into adulthood, and even begin in adulthood. Although some adolescents with this disorder may deny anxiety about separation, it may be reflected by their limited independent activities and reluctance to leave home.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
According to the DSM-V, the criteria for diagnosis of separation and anxiety disorder include:
1. Developing inappropriate and excessive fear or anxiety concerning separation from those to whom the individual is attached, as evidenced by at least three of the following:
- Recurrent excessive distress when anticipating or experiencing separation from home or from major attachment figures.
- Persistent and excessive worry about losing major attachment figures or about possible harm to them, such as illness, injury, disasters or death.
- Persistent and excessive worry about experiencing an untoward event (eg. Getting lost, being kidnapped, having an accident, becoming ill) that causes separation from a major attachment figure.
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to go out, be away from home, go to school, go to work, or elsewhere because of fear of separation.
- Persistent and excessive fear or reluctance about being alone or without major attachment figures at home or In other settings.
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to sleep away from home or to go to sleep without being near a major attachment figure.
- Repeated nightmares involving the theme of separation.
- Repeated complaints of physical symptoms (eg.headaches, stomach aches, nausea, vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated.
2. The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, lasting at least 4 weeks in children and adolescents and typically 6 months or more in adults.
3. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, academic, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
4. The disturbance is not better explained by another mental disorder, such as refusing to leave home because of excessive resistance to change in autism spectrum disorder; delusions or hallucinations concerning separation in psychotic disorders; refusal to go outside without a trusted companion in agoraphobia; worries about ill health or other harm befalling significant others in generalized anxiety disorder; or concerns about having an illness in illness anxiety disorder.
Therapy for Separation Anxiety
It is possible to treat and manage anxiety and therapy can be very successful in resolving separation anxiety disorder. The most effective treatment for separation anxiety in childhood, adolescence and adulthood is an integrated therapeutic approach, which draws on both principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychodynamic Counselling.
For more information about talking therapies and treatment programmes available at our Clinics in London, Milan and Rome please visit our Treatment page.
We offer Psychological Therapies for Separation Anxiety to Adults, Children and Teenagers at our clinics in City of London, London Bridge, London Kensington, London Islington, London Marylebone, London Oxford Circus, Milan City Life, Rome San Giovanni, Rome Piazza Bologna, Rome Garbatella and Online worldwide.
All our Therapists offer Psychological Therapies for Separation Anxiety to Adults, Children and Teenagers. Click here to meet the Team.