Characteristics of Separation Anxiety in Adults

Separation anxiety in adults

For the most part, everyone has heard of the term separation anxiety. And for the majority of those who have, they’re likely to associate the term with children or animals.

In children, separation anxiety can manifest very early on and can be felt by both child and parent. For example, separation anxiety can occur when a child begins daycare for the first time and experiences distress when detached from a primary caregiver. When it comes to adults (who don’t have children), we usually don’t hear too much about separation anxiety, but it still exists.

So, what are the signs of separation anxiety and how can they be addressed?


separation anxiety in adults




Common characteristics of separation anxiety

Distress when attached from a specific person or thing.

This is the most common characteristic people associate with separation anxiety. We all know the feeling of missing someone or something when we’re separated from him/her or it. In separation anxiety, the feeling can be overwhelming and may impede on everyday life and routines.

Excessive worry about losing this person or thing.

Worry and stress are parts of life. Excessively worrying about losing someone or something can be debilitating, causing the person to go into depression and not function as he or she normally would. In this case, it’s important to seek help from a professional and learn coping techniques.

Anxious, “worst case scenario” thinking about separation.

We all have a tendency to think of the “worst case scenario” when it comes to something we really want. Usually, this is a defense mechanism to help protect our own feelings if that particular thing doesn’t work out as planned. For people who experience separation anxiety, the “worst case scenario” can put strain on the person and make it difficult to disconnect from the someone or thing he or she is worried about being separated from.

Trouble sleeping when away from a specific person or thing.

Insomnia can set in with people who experiences separation anxiety. When a person is so worried about being separated from someone or something, it can make it difficult to relax or to “shut off” the brain when the worst case scenario replays itself over and over.

Physical complaints when separation appears eminent.

It’s likely that we’ve all been guilty, at least once in our lives, of fabricating an illness when we don’t want to engage in a specific activity, go someplace or see someone. When someone experiences separation anxiety, manipulating a situation with a faux illness to keep someone from disconnecting from you is a tell-tale sign of a deeper issue.

How we can help

At North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy, we have trained professionals ready to help you tackle your separation anxiety. They can provide you with the necessary tools to live a life free of debilitating anxiety and worry. Contact us today, and make an appointment at our Williamsburg location.