Separation Anxiety Disorder In Adults

We often talk about this disorder in childhood. But what are the causes, symptoms and effects of separation anxiety in adults?
Separation Anxiety Disorder in Adults

Separation Anxiety Disorder doesn’t just affect children. As we will see in this article, separation anxiety in adults is as serious a problem as it is often underestimated.

This psychological condition occurs when there is a fear of the removal, momentary or definitive, of a person, a pet or even a place or an object. In any case, separation anxiety disorder in adults manifests itself openly with symptoms that include nausea, headache or sore throat.

In the first years of life, this disorder is very common in humans because a child does not yet possess cognitive resources capable of mitigating the effect of stressful situations. Like a divorce, a move, or the death of a family member or pet.

However, even in the case of adults, the main problem with this state of anxiety stems from uncertainty. That is the impossibility of knowing, if and when, the much desired reunification can take place. An often unpleasant and very painful condition, as in the case of the departure of a friend, boyfriend or parent for the war, for example.

Symptoms of separation anxiety in adults

The main feature of separation anxiety disorder in adults is the excessive worry of being alone. But how do you know at what moment the worry, the fear of loneliness becomes a real anxiety disorder?

Separation anxiety in adults

According to the American Psychiatric Association, separation anxiety occurs when a person has one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Unusual stress from missing a person or pet.
  • Fear of being alone.
  • Continuous need, very intense or frequent, to know where another person is.

In adults, these episodes can last 6 months or more. These are symptoms that can cause significant distress and compromise social interaction, as well as academic or work performance.

Causes of separation anxiety disorder in adults

This psychological condition is triggered by the sudden, and apparently inexplicable, separation of loved ones and close ones. A specific type of anxiety that can be related to other mental disorders, such as delusions (psychotic disorders) or fear of change (autism spectrum disorder).

It is often possible to recognize an adult with separation anxiety disorder because they begin to become overprotective. However, he often expresses his fears about separation or estrangement in an “adult” way.

As mentioned, separation anxiety can originate in childhood, particularly when the first emotional bonds are formed. It can also result from later experiences where unexpected or sudden losses occur. Likewise, people who have been abused or have been victims of parental neglect are also more likely to suffer from it.

Risk factors

Separation anxiety in adults often develops after the loss of a loved one or after a significant event, such as a move to another city, a painful bereavement, or even the start of a college or work experience away from home . The aforementioned divorce can certainly favor the onset of the disorder.

Also, the likelihood of developing separation anxiety disorder in adults is higher if one was diagnosed in childhood. People who grew up with overly authoritarian parents may also be at increased risk, as are those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Symptoms of separation anxiety disorder in adults

Separation anxiety disorder is often diagnosed in people who have also been diagnosed with one of the following conditions:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Panic.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Social anxiety.
  • Personality disorder.

Treatment and treatment of separation anxiety disorder

Treatment for separation anxiety disorder in adults is similar to that for treating other anxiety disorders. Possible treatments include:

  • Group therapy.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapies.
  • Family therapy.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapies.
  • Medicines, such as antidepressants, anxiolytics, or psychotropics.

In any case, both diagnosis and treatment must be determined by a qualified professional. Therefore, whenever you suspect the possible presence of this disorder, you will need to contact a good psychologist.

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