The physical and emotional symptoms of separation anxiety in teenagers

Growing up, teenagers start to extend relationships beyond parents and family members.  But for some, separating from parents and relying on themselves more can be difficult.  You may notice physical responses in your teenager which lead to certain behaviours.

Separation anxiety in teenagers can show in a number of ways. Physical symptoms can include:  – Frequent tummy aches or vomiting – Headaches – Muscle aches or tension – Panic attacks – Extreme and severe crying – Loss of appetite – Refusal to do things that require separation – Lethargy or overactivity

Emotional symptoms (thoughts and behaviours) can include: – Clinging to parents and siblings – Repeated nightmares with a theme of separation – Worry or panic when faced with separation from home or family – School refusal and poor school performance – Extreme fear or reluctance of being alone, sometimes at bedtime – Heightened emotional behaviours such as aggression or anger – Withdrawal from communicating and engagement in activities – Worry about themselves, their safety and health – Overly worrying about the safety of a family member

Separation anxiety can form a vicious cycle.  Here is an example of how this can look: