Separation Anxiety Disorder, or SAD, is seen by healthcare professionals with greater frequency than ever before. This may be in part because our children share our anxiety whether we realize it or not, and because many careers and lifestyl
es take us away oftener and for longer periods of time. It is also now the subject of greater scrutiny and study than ever before.
Normally, your involvement in the treatment of a child with SAD will be along standard and physician-driven regimens that have been shown to be effective. However, under certain circumstances the level of severity of the – certainly to the point of a general inability to live a normal life – requires an advanced and proactive regimen and documented strategy.
While this may be a restatement of what you’ve read elsewhere, let’s begin with an understanding of what a Separation Anxiety Disorder is and how that differs from normal anxiety when the primary caregiver is away.
All children who love and are loved will naturally be uncomfortable when they are separated from you, either by a business trip or some other planned event that takes you out of town for more than just hours. Abnormality and the presence of SAD occurs when that level of anxiety and uncomfortable feeling spirals into a condition which causes extreme fear and panic, along with physical symptoms including rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. When this level of panic attack occurs, your child probably does have SAD and should be treated immediately. Most advice centers around beginning the process by scheduling an appointment with the child’s primary physician and starting there, with a
medical examination and suggested processes.
If your child’s diagnosis is considered treatable and not extreme you will probably be participating in regimens with both medication and lifestyle changes. However, if your physician refers you to a therapist or psychiatrist based on an actual occurrence of an anxiety attack then you may have a level of SAD severity that requires greater participation and involvement on your part.
Advanced cases of SAD, with a full-fledged panic attack often involve strong dosage of medication and alterations in your family practices and may even require at-home schooling for a while. Your involvement will probably involve constant reassurance along with planned, progressive local absences with regular phone contact. It will probably also include care-giver sharing and planned processes to monitor your child’s sleep patterns, diet and absorption of network news and violent video games.