A beautiful baby is born and his future looks bright. From the time the child is 2 years old, you notice he can’t sit still, he can’t seem to focus on anything and nothing keeps his attention for more then 10 minutes at a time. You also notice that he has to be next to you and in the middle of every conversation and you are told he is whiney and upset when you are not around and refuses to go to school.
Seperation Anxiety affects about 4% to 5% of children ages 7 to 11 years. There are many signs to look for when it comes to Seperation Anxiety. Most children will also have ADHD, panic attacks and bipolar disorder. Children with SA are very fearful when a parent, grandparent, brother or sister is not around. They can have panic attacks and feel alone and very vulnerable. They feel that something will happen and they will not come back for them.
- Genetics play an important role in diagnosing seperation anxiety. Psychological disorders are hereditary and once your child in enrolled in a counselling program, the counselor will ask about family history.
- Stress and Past Experiences also play a part. If a child has gone through a death in the family, traumatic moving from one place to another or a family member admitted into the hospital, these can also make a child insecure and bring out his fears.
- Over protective parents try to protect their children from harm and, while this is not always a bad thing, it may make the child fearful of outside and he may interpret it as “something bad will happen” if this is done.
Once a child goes through puberty, the signs of seperation anxiety usually start to disappear. Chemical changes within their brain during puberty is usually what makes the child more calm and relaxed. Although getting older can ease the signs of anxiety, the child grows dependant on his fears and it can become a problem for the child. His fears become a way of life and he seems to shield himself from the outside world while his parents (or whomever he became “bonded” to) have become his only friends.
There is no cure for seperation anxiety. Once a child is diagnosed through a psychiatrist, the child will learn to do breathing excersizes to relax and be less fearful. They can also be put on medication to balance out the chemicals in their brain. Unfortunately, these medications have a load of side effects for children under 18 years of age. Some of these side effects are suicidal thoughts, fatigue, a feeling of worthlessness, etc.
If you feel you have a child who may have seperation anxiety, please talk to your family doctor or your childs pediatrician. They can point you in the direction you need to go and inform you of which steps you need to take. Give your child the love they need and remember, a loving home is a secure home.