Separation Anxiety Disorder or SEPAD

Separation Anxiety Disorder or SEPAD

separation anxiety disorder or SEPADSeparation Anxiety Disorder or SEPAD is usually considered something that was only considered in children; however, research now shows that people can experienceSeparation Anxiety Disorder or SEPAD over their lifespan, and it can even begin as an adult. Individuals who experience Separation Anxiety Disorder report intense and impairing anxiety about actual or imagined separations with their loved ones or home environment, leading to a need to maintain physical proximity. Separation Anxiety Disorder is thought to occur in about 23 to 40 percent of people with mental health problems.

Recent research indicates that adults experiencing Complicated Grief are also highly likely to have Separation Anxiety and worse depression symptoms, among other mental health challenges.

In a 2016 research study, Dr. Camilla Gesi and colleagues examined the relationship between complicated grief (CG) and Separation Anxiety Disorder or SEPAD. The study involved a sample of adults seeking help for Complicated Grief. The researchers wanted to understand how common Separation Anxiety Disorder is among people experiencing Complicated Grief, and if those with both Complicated Grief and Separation Anxiety Disorder were more likely to suffer from other mental health problems, too.

What Is Complicated Grief?

Complicated Grief (CG), also known as traumatic grief or prolonged grief disorder, can occur after the death of a very close loved one. Research suggests that it affects between 10 to 20 percent of bereaved people, and it is associated with a negative impact on physical and mental health.

While everyone endures grief and emotional pain after the passing of a loved one, adults may be diagnosed with complicated grief if they also report persistent yearning, longing, and sorrow for at least 12-months (or six months for children). They must also report at least six of the following:

    • significant difficulty accepting the death
    • disbelief over the loss
    • difficulty with positive reminiscing about the deceased
    • anger
    • self-blame
    • avoidance of reminders of the loss
    • social/identity disruption

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