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Separation Anxiety (cont.)


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and fluvoxamine (Luvox), sertraline (Zoloft), and benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) may be helpful in reducing anxiety; however, the FDA has not approved these agents for use in children to treat separation anxiety disorders. In children and adolescents who may have coexisting depression along with anxiety, there is concern that suicidal thoughts or behaviors may be increased with the use of SSRIs when used for depression (see Understanding Antidepressant Medications). This increased risk can be assessed with regular monitoring by a mental health professional.

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Anxiety Disorder: Separation Anxiety and School Refusal »

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), separation anxiety is a fairly common anxiety disorder that consists of excessive anxiety beyond that expected for the child's developmental level related to separation or impending separation from the attachment figure (eg, primary caretaker, close family member) occurring in children younger than 18 years and lasting for at least 4 weeks.

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