Fussing and crying are the classic signs of separation anxiety. Screaming and tantrums are possible, too. During the day, your child may refuse to leave your side. During the night, he or she may wake up and cry for you.
Separation anxiety usually peaks between ages 10 and 18 months. Most children outgrow separation anxiety by age 24 months.
When to see a doctor
If your child's separation anxiety seems intense or prolonged — especially if it interferes with school or other daily activities or includes panic attacks or other problems — consult your child's doctor or a mental health professional. Sometimes separation anxiety is a sign of a more serious condition known as separation anxiety disorder.
Jun. 08, 2012
- Parenting corner Q&A: Separation anxiety. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.aap.org/publiced/BK0_SeparationAnxiety.htm. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- McInerny TK, et al. American Academy of Pediatrics Textbook of Pediatric Care. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009:207.
- McInerny TK, et al. American Academy of Pediatrics Textbook of Pediatric Care. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009:1742.
- The anxious child. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/the_anxious_child. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=14. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 11, 2012.
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