Separation Anxiety is characterized by intense and excessive fear when separated  from the home or loved ones. Specifics of this fear can vary, and can include: excessive distress in anticipation of separating, worry about losing or being separated from important loved ones due to some unanticipated event (e.g., accident, kidnapping), refusal or reluctance to go to school or work, fear of being alone, refusal or reluctance to  sleep away from home or a loved one, nightmares, and physical symptoms in response to separation.   Understandably, this type of intense fear of separation can greatly impact one’s ability to function individually, as well as interfere with loved ones’ ability to function.  In children, this may be noticeable as early as preschool, and can often result in a refusal to go to school.  

Potential signs of Separation Anxiety:

  • Significant worry that something bad will happen if separated from an important loved one (e.g., parent, significant other)
  • School refusal, or refusal to leave a loved one
  • Refusal to sleep separately from a loved one
  • Significant fear of being alone