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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:
Although parents and school staff can make accommodations for children with separation anxiety disorder, many children continue to suffer even after substantial accommodations have been made.
There are proven treatments for separation anxiety that can make a big difference in a child's life, school functioning and relationships with parents. Treatments can include specific forms of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy and medication used alone or in combination with psychotherapy.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Source:
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