Stirling Behavioral Health Institute

  Mental Health Services Provider

  6931 Van Nuys Blvd. #102 

  Phone (818) 376-0134 
  Fax (818) 376-1437

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition that causes a child or adolescent extreme distress when separated from parents or caregivers.

Difficulty separating is normal in early childhood development; it becomes a disorder if the fear and anxiety interfere with age-appropriate behavior, whether it’s an 18-month-old who can’t bear to be out of sight of his mother or a 7-year-old who can’t tolerate a school day apart from his parent(s).


Key warning signs that a child may have separation anxiety disorder are:

  • extreme over attachment to parents and a persistent feeling that the family is in danger
  • having a hard time saying goodbye to parents
  • having trouble being alone on one floor of the house
  • going to sleep in a darkened room

The child might also have physical symptoms that happen in anticipation of separation including stomachaches, headaches, and dizziness. If the child is at school, he/she may feel an overwhelming need to know where parents are and to be in touch with them by phoning or texting.

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