Facing issues of mental health can make you feel alone and unsure of where to turn. This is especially true when facing issues with your daughter’s mental health. That lonely feeling is often associated with not knowing exactly what mental health disorder your daughter is struggling with. This often applies to a daughter who is struggling with separation anxiety disorder (SAD). To relieve that lonely feeling, it is helpful to reach out for professional help. That way, you can receive a definitive diagnosis and begin a journey toward true healing.
In the Bible, Matthew 7:7 states “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” This embodies the first step in getting help for your daughter. The key is to reach out to a mental health professional or respected recovery center and ask for help. If the first person you contact isn’t helpful, we implore you to keep seeking until you find someone who is. Also, we want you to know that we are always available to help you at Clearview Girls Academy.
What Exactly Is Separation Anxiety?
When it comes to any issue of mental health, the first step is gaining at least a general understanding of what it is. The same goes for SAD. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) publication called Separation Anxiety by Joshua Feriante, Tyler J. Torrico, and Bettina Bernstein provides a concise overview.
According to the publication, “Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common childhood anxiety disorders. SAD is an exaggeration of otherwise developmentally typical anxiety manifested by excessive concern, worry, and even dread of the actual or anticipated separation from an attachment figure.” The NIH then goes on to explain how the most noticeable occurrences of “separation anxiety” happens developmentally and normally to infants under 12 months of age. However, this is “separation anxiety,” not SAD, which is wholly different.
When it comes to diagnosing SAD, the authors explain that “This disorder severely affects the quality of life and functioning across several areas, including school, work, social interactions, and close relationships.” It can also lead to “poor mental and physical health outcomes, including excessive worry, sleep disturbances, undue distress in social settings, poor academic performance, and somatic complaints.” These are not the only symptoms, however. Fortunately, some of the symptoms can be avoided if SAD is detected early enough and proper mental health care is received.
What Are Some of the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder?
As with all mental illnesses, being able to spot the warning signs sooner rather than later is important. This can greatly reduce the chances of short-term symptoms and long-term side effects. The following are just a few of the warning signs that your daughter may experience with SAD:
- Does your daughter express distress when she anticipates leaving home or leaving your presence?
- Does she continually worry about losing a loved one, or some form of harm coming to her like illness or injury?
- Does she experience trouble sleeping without you in the home?
- Is she having trouble concentrating at school due to thoughts or worries about what is happening with you or what is happening at home?
- Does she express feeling physically ill when she is separated from you?
If any of these warning signs are present, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. In doing so, you may be able to help your daughter avoid some of the following symptoms of SAD. These symptoms include:
- Sleep issues that may include prolonged insomnia or sleeping too much
- Not being able to concentrate for substantial periods
- Experiencing reoccurring nightmares at night and/or panic attacks during the day
- The potential for comorbidities like eating disorders or substance use disorders (SUDs) for example
- Experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide
The Importance of Individualized Care at Clearview Girls Academy
When it comes to SAD, several treatment methods are highly effective. Of these treatment methods, the primary recommended ones are evidence-based practices like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). These psychotherapies can help get to the underlying issues that may be causing your daughter’s SAD.
While we utilize CBT and DBT to treat SAD, we also incorporate other components into our students’ recovery plans. We do so by assessing all of our students’ individual needs. From this assessment, we can add in some of our other neuroscientific and/or experiential therapies. This includes eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and equine therapy.
Matthew 21:22 also states that “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” This faith is what we need as parents when it comes to getting our daughters the help they need. We here at Clearview Girls Academy truly believe that if you have faith and also take action, we can help light your daughter’s path to recovery.
While separation anxiety can affect everyone, it is most prominent in children and adolescents. This is why it is critical for parents and caretakers to better understand separation anxiety, including its warning signs, symptoms, side effects, and the most effective ways to treat it. If you feel like your daughter may be struggling with separation anxiety, please don’t wait to get help. Getting help for separation anxiety sooner rather than later can greatly reduce the chances of long-term side effects. You are not alone. We can help your family get through this. For more information on anxiety disorders like separation anxiety disorder (SAD), please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.