In talking about separation anxiety, most people associate it with children and their attachment to their parents. However, while it is primarily seen in children, separation anxiety impacts people of all ages. It is normal to be concerned about your loved ones’ well-being. Still, you may need professional treatment if you have overwhelming anxiety in their absence that interferes with your functioning. Separation anxiety in adults can take on many forms. Parents with separation anxiety can be strict or overprotective, while romantic partners may seem overbearing or needy.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder among Americans. Luckily, they are highly treatable. At Harmony Hills’ anxiety treatment program in Florida, we treat all forms of anxiety, including separation anxiety disorder. Individuals with separation anxiety frequently have co-occurring disorders, including depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, personality disorders, and PTSD. Thus, Harmony Hills provides dual diagnosis treatment. Contact our team at 855.494.0357 to learn more.
Three Signs of Separation Anxiety Disorder in Adults
Separation anxiety is a regular part of development in children between six months and three years old, after which it usually passes. For some, however, it can continue through childhood and into adulthood. Separation anxiety is a heightened state of anxiety triggered by the idea of or actual separation from loved ones that often includes panic attacks.
If you are unsure whether you have an adult separation anxiety disorder, consider these three signs:
- You have difficulty sleeping, eating, or concentrating and experience headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments when your loved one is out of your presence.
- You have excessive fear for the safety of your loved one and worry about events such as natural disasters, car accidents, or other unpredictable events befalling them.
- You have no independent social life and want or need to accompany your loved one everywhere.
Adults with separation anxiety often exhibit poor boundaries with children or partners. Others can perceive them as being clingy or overly dependent on partners and strict and overly involved with children. Suppose anxiety about being away from children or partners interferes with functioning at work or impairs your ability to manage daily responsibilities. In that case, it may be time to seek professional anxiety disorder treatment.
Separation Anxiety Disorder Symptoms for Diagnosis
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), is the standard for diagnosing mental health disorders. According to the DSM-5, the symptoms of a separation anxiety disorder include:
- Excessive distress before and during separation
- Excessive worry about events that may cause separation from the attachment figure
- Excessive worry about losing the attachment figure
- Persistent and excessive fear of being alone
- Reluctance to leave the attachment figure
- Reluctance to sleep away from the attachment figure
- Recurrent nightmares about separation
- Recurrent physical symptoms during actual or anticipated separation
The symptoms of separation anxiety cause significant distress that impacts occupational and social functioning for at least six months. The treatment for separation anxiety includes therapy, medications, and lifestyle support.
What Causes and Triggers Separation Anxiety Disorder in Adults?
Individuals with an insecure attachment style are more susceptible to developing a separation anxiety disorder. Insecure attachment is typically related to inconsistency or instability in childhood, particularly regarding relationships. Common causes and triggers of separation anxiety disorder in adults include:
- Family history of anxiety
- Forced separation
- Developmental delays
- Traumatic brain injury
- History of trauma
- The unexpected death of a loved one
- Neurological issues
Having been diagnosed with childhood separation anxiety puts you at higher risk for adult separation anxiety disorder. Pre-existing mental health disorders and significant life changes, such as moving away from family or other support networks, can also be risk factors.
Discover Separation Anxiety Treatment in Florida at Harmony Hills
While anxiety disorders are not preventable, they are highly treatable. At Harmony Hills, we provide comprehensive anxiety and dual diagnosis treatment for adults on our beautiful rural 80-acre campus in Florida. Here, you or your loved one will receive individualized treatment to address the underlying causes of your separation anxiety disorder, education, family therapy, and coping and life skills to help you learn how to manage your symptoms long-term.
If anxiety, including separation anxiety, has taken hold of your life to the point that it interferes with your daily functioning, help is available at Harmony Hills. Reach out to our team at 855.494.0357 to learn more about your treatment options.