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Separation Anxiety Disorder


Separation anxiety disorder is a condition that causes your child to feel anxious when separated from something familiar.



  • Antianxiety medicine: This helps your child feel less nervous.

  • Antidepressants: This decreases or prevents symptoms of anxiety or depression. It can also be used to treat other behavior problems.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider as directed:

Your child's primary healthcare provider will watch how your child responds to medicine. Tell your child's primary healthcare provider about unwanted side effects or problems your child may be having with his medicine. The type and amount of medicines your child takes may need to be changed. Your child's primary healthcare provider will also talk about how long your child may need therapy or medicine. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

How to help your child:

  • Be a positive role model: Learn to control your own anxiety. Your child learns from watching your behavior. Be careful that your own actions do not support or strengthen your child's separation anxiety behavior. These actions include checking on your child often and avoiding situations that cause you anxiety.

  • Learn more about separation anxiety disorder: The more you know about your child's condition, the better you can help him. Work with your child's teachers to help your child in school.

  • Set rules that do not change: Clear and simple rules can help change how your child thinks and acts. Have set limits and routines that are always followed. Praise and reward your child when he is able to control his anxiety.

For more information:

  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    3615 Wisconsin Avenue NW
    Washington , DC 20016
    Phone: 1- 202 - 966-7300
    Web Address:
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    8730 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600
    Silver Spring , MD 20910
    Phone: 1- 240 - 485-1001
    Web Address:

Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's eating or sleeping habits change.

  • Your child's separation anxiety disorder prevents him from doing his daily activities.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child feels like hurting himself or others.

  • Your child has a seizure.

  • Your child has trouble breathing, chest pains, or a fast heartbeat.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Separation Anxiety Disorder (Discharge Care)