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Separation Anxiety Disorder - Symptoms

What are the symptoms of separation anxiety disorder?

  • Unrealistic worry about separation from major emotional attachment figures in their lives (e.g. parents)
  • Worries about being kidnapped/getting lost
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Refusal to go to sleep alone
  • Upset if not allowed to follow attachment figure around the home
  • Repeated nightmares involving separation theme(s)
  • Complaints of physical problems on school days; stomach aches, headaches, nausea & vomiting
  • Temper tantrums & distress upon separation (in children under 6, this stress is usually that of panic)
  • Social and academic problems

Symptoms are normally seen for at least 2 weeks before diagnosis [1].


[1] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association. 1980. pp. 53. ISBN 978-0890420188.