Separation Anxiety

Anxiety in children is caused by several factors, of which the most pregnant is how they are treated at home. When left untreated, anxiety crystallises into a more concrete form. As a child enters adulthood, it results in avoidance behaviour, and can make a person phobic or shy. Anxiety disorders can begin when a child is as young as 6-8 months old. The more anxious parents are, the more likely the child is to suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is a phenomenon of human nature, and mild pangs of anxiety in new situations are absolutely normal.
Anxiety can even be beneficial because it serves as an adaptive response in many difficult situations. Therefore, the mere presence of anxiety during separation from parents is not a sign of pathology. It is a normal phenomenon in a child's development, especially when he is 6-8 months old.
But when we speak of pathological anxiety, we speak of an anxiety disorder that gradually becomes established, which compromises adaptation and child development. Events during pregnancy and birth, or unpleasant sensations, can make a child more vulnerable to something that generates tension.
Both psychological and situational factors can trigger natural anxiety. But if a child has a structure around her, such as anxious parents, then you can establish a case of chronic anxiety. Some stimuli that are experienced are so intensely negative, they may even trigger pathological anxiety.
Anxiety arises at the age of around 6-8 months when a baby experiences discomfort, cries and gets upset in the presence of a stranger. This shows that a child is distinguishing a familiar face from a strangers. It is a completely normal and healthy reaction, but may lead to separation anxiety. In situations where the mother or caregiver of the child has to leave him with someone else, the child despairs, his heart races, face turns red, and he cannot be controlled or pacified.
The child may not want to go to daycare or school, and his school performance may fall gradually. This is the most common symptom - but not always, because the emotional bond with the teacher makes a big difference here.
I realise that, depending on the child, a stimulus that does not lead to some anxiety in a crisis can generate anxiety in another situation for those who are predisposed to it.
A good relationship can prevent chronic anxiety. The way parents, babysitters, grandparents or anyone else who cares for the child deal with life situations is important. If a person already has a tendency to get anxious and tense when everyone else panics, it can only intensify.
What we need to have as a rule is: The less anxiety transmitted to the child, the better. We have to calm the child down and protect him. Thus he learns that there are many ways to evaluate an issue and deal with it besides getting anxious.
To counter separation anxiety, parents need to spend quality time with their children. If a child feels safe in the presence of his mother early in life, the tendency to get anxious is minimised.
We know that symptoms of anxiety are relatively common in children and adolescents, and chronic and pathological anxiety, including separation anxiety, is a clinical problem that is increasingly common in modern times. All professionals dealing with children and adolescents must be aware of the possible manifestations of anxiety in this age group, which are:
1. The child has symptoms that cannot be classified as normal behaviour;
2. Anxiety significantly impairs the child's functioning;
3. The symptoms of anxiety persist for an inappropriate length of time.
Such anxiety can be debilitating and stressful for families. Therefore, treatment is more effective, and has excellent results if the disorder is diagnosed early and correctly. Diagnosis is important because children with separation anxiety often face difficulty in performing daily activities, attending school, staying with friends, going on tour and even maintaining normal sleeping habits hildren with the disorder suffer a lot when separated from parents. Symptoms can arise even at the mere mention of a possible future separation. When separated from home or parents, the child urgently needs to know their whereabouts and feels the need to stay in constant contact, for example with repeated phone calls.
They have frequent nightmares about separation. They also experience extreme longing and feel sick (fever, diarrhoea and vomiting) due to the discomfort of being away from home, or when a person they bond with is absent.
Other symptoms include worrying that something bad might happen to them or to their parents, refusal to go to school, and reluctance to sleep alone or away from the parents. Outside the home, they may experience social withdrawal, apathy, sadness or have difficulty concentrating.
Concerns about death are common, as well as social avoidance. The child may feel that no one likes him and/or that somebody wants to kill him. They may also exhibit aggressive behaviour such as anger at the person forcing separation. They can also report unusual perceptual experiences such as imagining people or frightening creatures in the room trying to pick them up, and a feeling that someone is watching them.
A child's demands for attention, affection and love often become a source of frustration for parents, causing resentment and conflict in the family. Sometimes children with anxiety are described as overly meticulous, obedient and eager to please, worrying excessively about issues that adults usually think about (their own competence, what to wear the next day, which subject to choose at university, etc). Depression is also seen in patients with separation anxiety.

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