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Separation Anxiety: More Than Just the Back-to-School Blues
Date:8/23/2013

New York (PRWEB) August 23, 2013

Most children experience some degree of apprehension and excitement as the first day of school approaches, but what does it mean when a child is overcome with fear at the thought of separating from parents and caregivers to go to class?

This overwhelming fear may be a sign of separation anxiety disorder, a condition characterized by a school-aged child's extreme fear and nervousness of separating from loved ones.

"Upwards of 5 percent of children between the ages of 7 and 11 years old suffer from separation anxiety disorder in the United States. In severe cases this condition can hamper a child's academic performance and social interactions and even make it difficult for a child to develop physically and emotionally," says Dr. John Walkup, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Early detection and treatment is the best way to ensure full recovery."

As parents prepare for the new school year, here are a few telltale signs that a child may be experiencing separation anxiety:

  •     Worrying that bad things will happen when separated. Separation fears can be triggered when the child leaves for school or when the parents leave for work or go out for dinner.
  •     Refusing to go to school. Dropping your child off at school usually entails long tearful drop-offs and may escalate to tantrums or a complete refusal to go to school.
  •     Difficulty concentrating on schoolwork. Watch for signs of academic difficulties such as inability to follow directions, focus during class or complete assignments. If a child is overcome by worries related to separation anxiety, schoolwork may suffer.
  •     Avoiding activities outside of the home. I
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