Worth Repeating: Examining Separation Anxiety Disorder in Children

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[Source:  Play & Child Therapy Blog]

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Some young children show signs of anxiety when separated from their parents for any period of time.  Mohacsy (1976) argues that children go through a process of slowly separating from their mother or primary caregiver, and begin to form their own individual self beginning approximately around “five months” and completing the process by “the third year of life” (p. 501).  Perez-Olivas, Stevenson, and Hadwin (2008) argue that separation anxiety disorder is one of the most common childhood disorders, particularly in children who are younger than 12 years old.  As described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR, 2000), Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) (309.21) refers to pervasive and intense feelings of anxiety experienced as the result of being away from a familiar and primary caregiver especially after the third birthday. 

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