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Separation and Stranger Anxiety can affect a person in different ways at various stages of their lives. We will give examples of each category, as well other factors which may be important in identifying the disorder. Separation and stranger anxiety can have a negative impact on daily activities. It may also affect other areas of health (emotional, social, occupational). Overall, stranger and separation anxiety is a risk factor for many mental disorders. It can affect a person at any stage of their life.
Topic AnalysisDefinition Of Stranger Anxiety
This is the distress and fear that an individual feels when surrounded with people they don’t know. Most often seen in younger groups. Typically, infants and young children are affected.
Definition of Separation anxiety
This is anxiety about being away from loved ones, usually parents. This is the most common form of anxiety disorder in children below 18 years old.
Stranger anxiety in childhood
Stranger anxiety can be the first anxiety a baby experiences. Stranger anxieties usually begin around the age of eight to nine months, and last until about two years. Stranger anxiety may be shown in different ways. An unfamiliar face could try to pick or carry an infant. This could also be a stranger, or someone they recognize wearing clothing that makes them unrecognizable to the child. If a child sees a stranger wearing glasses or if they are in a costume, it may be upsetting. Babies are able to distinguish between caregivers and others, and prefer familiar faces.
Separation anxiety in infants
Separation anxiety can be experienced by children at any age. Between six and 10 months, it is the most prevalent because babies do not have object permanence. It is difficult for them to grasp that when a caregiver or parent leaves, they do not disappear forever. The game peekaboo helps introduce permanence.
The child can also cope better with the parent’s departure if the distraction is effective. As a result, the baby won’t notice when the caregiver or parent leaves. In the early days of daycare and preschool, children may worry about the future. This is a common fear that will last for a long time. The child may not want to sleep alone or with a caregiver, and have nightmares about being apart from that person.
Separation anxiety in adolescents
Adolescence is not the same as infancy. In adolescence, separation anxiety is often triggered by situations that occur in the home. They might worry about what could happen to their family members while they’re away. It is normal for adolescents to feel uncomfortable or fearful when they are away from home. Adolescents see their family or home as a safe net or comfort zone. They may refuse to attend school. They will use excuses to stay home, like feeling ill or sick to get the caregiver to agree.
Fear that loved ones may be hurt while they’re away. In the early days of President Trump’s presidency, younger children and teens feared attending school for fear that their parents would be sent away. Feelings like “homesickness” when you are away from your family. This is common for young adults moving out of the family home or going away to college.
Stranger Anxiety Among Adolescents
Social anxiety can cause adolescent stranger anxiety. In some cases, teens may think that strangers are dangerous. Infancy, stranger anxiety is simply the feeling of unease when a new face appears. However, teenagers tend to be more concerned about what other people think. Adolescents can be self-conscious. They may feel uncomfortable reading in class or giving a presentation in front of others.
Separation anxiety in adulthood
The disorder of separation anxiety among adults is often under-reported. With the DSM-5’s new changes, this is changing. Adults might present with the same symptoms/ behaviors as in earlier years: Making repeated phonecalls to attachment figures all day long or arranging for them to stay in close proximity.
Other subtle ways to keep close to the attachment figure include non-verbal signals that indicate distress. Women are more likely to experience attachment disorder (especially during pregnancy). A familial pattern is also evident in the mothers and their daughters. Overprotective parenting is one of the risk factors for childhood.
Silove & Rees’ interviews focused on a mother’s relationship with her daughter, aged seven. She was always worried about her mother and avoided school. She also complained about stomach pains and headaches. She would have nightmares that her mother was kidnapped and died.
The mother was interviewed after the interview with the daughter. After her daughter’s birth, she developed a habit of sleeping in a disturbed manner. She was constantly checking to make sure her daughter was breathing and alive. Her child was her constant worry. She restricted contact with her to make sure she didn’t get any illnesses that weren’t disclosed. The mother’s panic-agoraphobia was diagnosed before the age restriction was lifted.
The fear of crowds, of leaving your home or being stuck in a situation where it is hard to escape is known as Agoraphobia. However, her fears were not rooted in this. The mother was concerned about her daughter’s safety and security at all times.
Stranger Anxiety as an Adult
Social anxiety is a fear of social situations involving interactions with others. It is easier to trust someone who you know, so it’s not easy for them to trust new people. It can also be due to overprotective parenting styles when children are young.
ConclusionOver the past few decades, the criteria of who can suffer from separation and stranger anxieties has dramatically changed. A person’s anxiety may present in a variety of ways. This makes it hard to diagnose. This means that the disorder may manifest itself later in one’s life. By seeking professional help and undergoing treatment, one can always find the support they need to tackle these issues.