Separation anxiety is feeling worried and nervous when you leave someone you are emotionally attached to. This feeling is common in teenagers and children, especially when leaving their mothers. According to expert research, separation anxiety is caused by environmental and biological factors, early life experiences and genetics. Stressful events such as moving and traveling to a new location, loss of a parent, starting a new school can act to trigger separation anxiety but stress itself is not a cause of separation anxiety.
5 Reasons for Separation Anxiety
1. GENETIC CAUSES OF SEPARATION ANXIETY
Academic research and statistical data have shown that about 74 percent of individuals with a family history of anxiety disorder are likely to suffer from separation anxiety. Research has also shown that this condition can be inherited especially if one has a first degree relations with a person with a condition of mental illness.
2. BIOLOGICAL FACTORS
Individuals suffering from this condition have been found to have certain chemical imbalances in the brain. Their brain’s neurotransmitters, which are responsible for mood regulation and creation of impulses are not regulated as is the case in a normal brain. This leads to triggering of on the said condition because the chemicals are imbalanced. An individual lacks the ability to respond to a stressful situation and this causes them to react to minor stressful situations in an exaggerated manner.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
Stressful situations, where an individual is separated from his/her child, significant other or a loved one can lead to separation anxiety. Examples of stressful situations that trigger separation anxiety include unexpected loss of a loved one, forced separation and moving to a new environment. Research has also shown romantic relationships where an individual is not able to adjust when he/she is not around his/her partner can cause separation anxiety.
If a child or an adult experiences a traumatic event as a child and they are not able to adjust to the event, the experience is likely to cause separation anxiety. Bullying and recurrent social rejection experience from peers are also likely the cause.
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5. EARLY LIFE EXPERIENCES
Research has shown that children who are very fearful in their early life may eventually develop this condition and this may result in impairment. This symptom is visible usually when for example a child starts a new school or is given a new caregiver or parent. Children with anxiety due to separation may not adjust to the new school leading to poor school results.
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It is a treatable condition especially if the symptoms are identified early in life. It is recommended for one to seek medical treatment if his/her child is unwilling to be separated from his primary caregiver, refuses to participate in sports, attend school or participate in social activities that lead to interaction.