Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder: What You May Not Know

Not just children but adults also experience separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in adults is seen when they are highly afraid of going away from their favorite people, such as family members, or even pets as well. The cause of separation anxiety disorder is still unclear to many of us. Sometimes it is seen along with other anxiety-related issues like generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and panic disorder.

Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder

Although separation anxiety can occur in adults and teenagers, causing serious issues going to work or leaving the house, there are suitable treatments. Read on to know more about this disorder!



Separation anxiety can grow in an adult from his/her parent, beloved, or kid who goes away. Their anxiety is associated with other hidden mental health issues also. Individuals with this mental disorder show lots of sadness and concentration issues or are socially withdrawn while getting separated from their loved ones.


Separation in an adult comes with several symptoms, including:

  • Extreme fear of being isolated

  • Unnecessary stress about going away from a favorite pet or person

  • Curiosity of knowing where their loved ones are at every time

  • Heightened concern that another person will be hurt in case they leave them

  • Some physical issues when they know they are going away from another individual soon.

The aforesaid symptoms usually last for six months or more in an adult. These symptoms can lead them to serious distress that can impact their educational, professional, and social activities.


Risk Factors


Sometimes, separation anxiety grows after losing a loved one or following a meaningful event like moving to college. You may possibly grow adult separation anxiety in case you were diagnosed with the same disorder as a kid. Moreover, adults who are looked after by extremely strict parents are also at a higher risk.


Alongside pre-existing mental health issues, some other risk factors for adults’ separation anxiety incorporate:

  • History of traumatic events in childhood like abuse

  • Childhood adversity like a family member’s death

  • Being female

How to Diagnose Adults’ Separation Anxiety


To diagnose this disorder, doctors conduct a detailed test. One of the main symptoms is heightened anxiety or fear about going away from your favorite people. These symptoms:

  • Should be seen for at least 6 months in adults

  • Can’t be described better by a distinct disorder

  • Are extremely severe that they can impact social duties and activities.

Your healthcare service provider will ask you lots of questions to decide whether you match the criteria for this diagnosis.


How to Treat Adults’ Separation Anxiety


Your medical provider may suggest many types of treatments or you may find many treatments suitable for you. Possible treatments incorporate:

  • Family therapy

  • Medications

  • Group therapy

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Bottom Lines


The same as other anxiety disorders, separation anxiety in adults can impact their quality of life. However, this condition can be handled with proper treatment. Consult a mental health expert in case you suspect yourself or somebody you know.