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Separation Anxiety (cont.)

Separation Anxiety Symptoms

Symptoms of separation anxiety disorder include the following:

  • Subjective feeling of anxiety


  • Unrealistic worries about the safety of loved ones


  • Reluctance to fall asleep if not near the primary attachment figure


  • Excessive dismay (for example, tantrums) if separation from the primary attachment figure is imminent


  • Nightmares with separation-related themes


  • Homesickness


  • Psychosomatic symptoms such as headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, stomachache, cramps, vomiting, muscle aches, and heart palpitations
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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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