Psychotherapy: CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is the main treatment approach for separation anxiety disorder. The focus of therapy is to help the child tolerate being separated from the caregiver without it causing distress or interfering with his or her function. CBT works to reshape the child’s thinking (cognition) so that his or her behavior becomes more appropriate. Family therapy also may help teach the family about the disorder and help family members better support the child during periods of anxiety.
Medication: Antidepressant or other anti-anxiety medications may be used to treat severe cases of separation anxiety disorder.
What Is the Outlook For Children With The Disorder?
Most children with separation anxiety disorder get better, although their symptoms may recur for many years, particularly when stressful events or situations occur. When treatment is started early and involves the family as well as the child, the child’s chance of recovery improves.
Is There A Way To Prevent The Disorder?
There is no known way to prevent separation anxiety disorder, but recognizing and acting on symptoms when they appear can minimize distress and prevent problems associated with not going to school. In addition, reinforcing a child’s independence and self-esteem through support and approval may help prevent future episodes of anxiety.
About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723
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