Childhood Anxiety Disorder

Rick D'Alli, MD

In This Article

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder presents with developmentally inappropriate excessive anxiety about being away from home and/or those to whom a child has formed an attachment. It is more common in girls, in children from close-knit families, and may develop after a major event, such as death or illness in the family or a physical or sexual assault.

Other symptoms (must last at least 1 month):


  • Excessive clinging and fear of separation

  • Has difficulty falling asleep by himself or herself

  • When absent, fears parent or loved one will suffer illness or accident


Separation anxiety disorder can manifest as stomachache, headache, vomiting, palpitations, and dizziness. Age of onset can be as early as age 2-3 years. The disorder has a high remission rate, and can be a precursor to panic disorder with agoraphobia if not treated.


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