Imagine that you have a job offer abroad. Your working life does not depend on it, but the truth is that it would enrich you professionally and personally. You think about accepting it, but when you imagine yourself away from your family, from your friends and perhaps from your partner, an enters you that paralyzes you. You may have separation anxiety disorder and still don’t know it. Do you want to prove it?
We provide you with a complete guide so that you can come to understand this type of disorder in adult life. We tell you what its symptoms are, its causes, its terrible consequences and how you can treat it to put an end to it. Read carefully…
What is separation anxiety disorder (in adults)?
Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a fear and anxiety response to a situation in which you have to get away from your attachment ties. Generally it is about your parents, but it also happens with your siblings, with your lifelong friends, with your partner (if you have one).
Here it is convenient to make a clarification and that is that separation anxiety disorder does not refer to a breakup, although heartbreak. But we are not in this case, but in taking you away, even for a while, from the most important people in your life. Or the places.
This disorder affects both children and adults, and some pets have been found to suffer from it as well. The child who panics during the first months of kindergarten, the adult who begins a new stage of life outside his or her place of origin, or the dog you leave at your brother’s house when you go on vacation.
Separation Anxiety Disorder Causes and Risk Factors
Most of the time, separation anxiety disorder appears as a consequence of the daily stress caused by separation from a loved one. However, it is also possible that there is a genetic cause behind it. Some of the risk factors that predispose to suffering this disorder are the following:
- That a previous stressful situation has been experienced in the face of a loss or separation, such as the illness or death of a loved one, the loss of a pet, a move, the divorce of the parents…
- Family history of anxiety problems which would indicate that the disorder may be hereditary.
- Some temperaments or ways of being are more prone to anxiety disorders than others.
Symptoms and consequences of separation anxiety disorder
As we have mentioned, the person suffering from separation anxiety disorder panics at the idea of moving away from that bond of attachment. The typical symptoms of anxiety appear at any time and place and range from the feeling of suffocation to a panic attack.
People with this disorder suffer from frequent nightmares at the idea of separation. Something bad can happen to themselves or to their relatives. And this is what is known as distorted thoughts that are also obsessive and intrusive.
But more than its symptoms, the consequences of this disorder worry. This anxiety in children affects their future independence and autonomy and they may also believe that they are being abandoned and that their basic needs for affection are not being met. Emotional problems that arise in childhood are carried into adulthood, so it is convenient to treat it as a serious problem and not think that it will go away because “they are children’s things.”
For its part, separation anxiety disorder in adults causes a significant deterioration in self-esteem. That person finds him unable to manage on his own, he feels vulnerable without the support of his family and friends, and he may give up great opportunities in life because he does not dare to leave his comfort zone.
How is separation anxiety disorder treated?
The solution to separation anxiety disorder is not to stay at home. It’s not staying in the comfort zone to avoid feeling fear and anxiety. It is not looking the other way and thinking that this opportunity was not really what you wanted. The solution is to seek professional help in the form of psychological therapy. And then being able to decide if you want to go far away or not.
The most appropriate therapy will be chosen by the psychologist depending on whether he is going to treat a child or an adult, but in both cases it involves reinforcing self-esteem, giving that person the necessary tools to be more autonomous and independent, establishing healthier attachment relationships and by eliminating distorted thoughts about the dangers of separation.
Complications that separation anxiety disorder can bring if not treated on time
Separation anxiety disorder, in addition to great anguish, can cause some difficulties to function in certain social situations, at work or at school (in the case of children). It can also lead to other anxiety disorders such as panic attacks or agoraphobia and, in the worst case, end up leading to depression.
Now that you have the tools to remedy it, don’t wait another second. And if you need more details about anxiety disorders, feel free to visit our ‘anxiety’ category. Any little help counts when it comes to overcoming separation anxiety disorder! Dog!