Separation Anxiety Disorder is observed in young children before early adolescence. About 4-9% of young children have SAD. Onset of the disorder is usually appears between the ages 7 months to 11 months with its prominence in children up to 3rd or 4th grade. . Then outward symptoms of the disorder continue till the age of 18 years. The disorder classification by be termed differently in adolescent years.
Children of the age group 18 months to 3 years can experience severe symptoms of the disorder. However, it can show up any time in the life of a child, without relating to a specific period of their childhood. As suggested by some researchers in this field, the prominence of SAD is typically diagnosed in the age group of 3 to 6 years due to their perception and confusion of reality. SAD may also have some relation with inheritance. There is a reported linkage to a large disposition in the children of parents who themselves have suffered the disorder in their childhood.
Diverse opinion exists about SAD occurring more in boys than girls. Some contend the occurrence is equal of boys and girls undergoing treatment for the disorder. Others are of the opinion that girls are twice as likely as boys that are affected by SAD. This may not reveal a correct picture since the boys find it more uncomfortable to discuss their problem and bear with it longer before seeking help.
The relative causes for those who suffer are different due to influence of various social stimulations. The symptom of the fear of separation is slightly lower in the adolescent stage than in childhood. Children of 2 to 4 years of age, who are afraid to be alone, scared of loud noise; darkness, injury, animals and imaginary may develop SAD. In ages 3 to 6 years there seem to be predominance of imaginary nonexistent understandings.
A little older group of children, above 8 years, continue to dwell upon the fears already embedded in their minds. Divorce can accentuate fears of death in the family, bodily injuries, and criticism. These are likely to prolong until their teens. In age between 11 and 12 years children may start becoming afraid of kidnapping, injections and lone presence in the darkness. A 13 year old may become acrophobic (fearing heights) and the same may be the situation with an adolescent.
In the ages of 14 to 18 years children may develop wide range of rational fears such as terrorism, plane or car crash, sexual relations, public speaking, school or college performance, crowds. Gossips and divorce in addition might have already been obsessed about. The situation of Separation Anxiety Disorder is more pronounced with children who have encountered being very focused on perceived judgment by peers and family members.
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