The first step to conquering separation anxiety in teenagers is to understand what it is, how it works, what triggers it, and what you can do to manage it and eventually overcome it altogether.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is when someone has a very difficult time being apart from an individual in their life or a group. It could be their family, close friends,
Separation anxiety is more common in younger children but if it’s not treated, it can certainly be something that becomes an issue in teenage relationships, too. Separation anxiety in teenage relationships can look cute or like “puppy love” when two people just can’t be apart from one another, but if it is causing genuine harm to one or both of them to be apart, then this isn’t a healthy relationship and this is something that should be addressed.
Not only can it causes issues in all relationships throughout life, if left untreated, but this disorder can also lead to panic disorder or other manifestations of anxiety.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder
Here’s an overview of the more common symptoms of separation anxiety disorder, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic.
- Frequent distress over being apart from the person you’re attached to, or away from home
- Excessive worry about losing someone close to you
- Anxiety that something bad is going to happen, like something terrible happening to a loved one or the person the individual with separation anxiety is attached to
- Refusing to spend time away from home or away from the loved one
- In younger people, not wanting to be home alone without a parent there
- Nightmares related to separation from loved ones
In teenagers, a sign of separation anxiety can be someone who hates going to school and tries to stay home at all costs, who has to leave school early sometimes, who may pretend to be feeling under the weather in order to go home sooner, or who feels very anxious and uncomfortable to be at school or away from home.
What Causes Separation Anxiety Disorder in Teenage Years?
Separation anxiety can be caused by stressful events in life. It’s believed that genetics may play a role in who develops this order, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In teenage years, it probably stems from separation anxiety earlier in life that wasn’t treated or that wasn’t acknowledged properly. It’s possible for someone to not experience severe separation anxiety earlier in life, but for it to be triggered later in life.
What If Separation Anxiety Is Untreated?
Separation anxiety isn’t something that will usually go away on its own, so ignoring it won’t help, it will just end up causing immense stress and pressure for both people, the person who has the separation anxiety and also for the person whom they are attached to.
On a personal level, it can be very draining for the person to who they are attached, and this can push people away in and of itself. Someone with separation anxiety can put a strain on the relationship by being very overbearing if the partner is somebody who needs their own space sometimes.
Separation Anxiety in Teenage Relationships
When teenagers start dating, it can be a confusing and awkward time for some couples. Of course, there are a lot of fun times and great memories that are being created, but teenage relationships can be very confusing sometimes. Teens haven’t fully matured yet or reached adulthood, and it takes some people well into their adult years to mature emotionally enough to have a healthy relationship, so it’s no wonder that sometimes teenage relationships can be pretty toxic, even if they seem sweet and innocent on the surface. Untreated separation anxiety can be very difficult for all parties involved.
Help for Separation Anxiety in Teenagers
If you feel like you or someone you care about is dealing with separation anxiety in teens, it’s a good idea to speak to a mental health professional in order to come up with a treatment plan. It’s very important to trust the person you’re working with and to stick to the treatment plan to give it a chance to work, it’s not always an easy process to overcome separation anxiety but failure to tackle this problem can be very damaging to a person’s relationships and their overall happiness in life.