What are the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Adults?

What are the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Adults?

What are the symptoms of separation anxiety in adults? We all know that it’s never easy to say goodbye to friends and loved ones. For some people, this is especially difficult. The anxiety that can come from saying goodbye, known as separation anxiety, can make leaving home unbearable. If you’re dealing with separation anxiety in adults, here are some of the signs you should be concerned about.

The symptoms of separation anxiety in adults include:

  • Feeling tense or on edge before leaving home
  • Trying to avoid being away from home as much as possible
  • Often feeling like you need to contact (or check up on) your family while away
  • Having difficulty concentrating at work because you keep worrying about what’s happening at home
  • Experiencing physical symptoms (i.e., stomach aches, headaches) when separated from home for an extended period of time

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above on a regular basis, it might be worth getting professional help.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a type of anxiety that often occurs when people are separated from their loved ones. It can be difficult to understand and diagnose, as it often resembles other disorders. While separation anxiety in adults is not considered a disorder, it can still present serious difficulties in personal relationships and professional settings.

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Adults?

Separation anxiety is caused by intense fear and dread at the idea of being away from your home or partner. It can be caused by a traumatic event, such as a death, in the family or a past experience where you were separated from your loved ones. Hotels are not the only thing that may trigger separation anxiety. Leaving for work or school can cause intense stress and worry, which can lead to other symptoms of anxiety.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Adults

If you want to know if you are dealing with separation anxiety, you should look for certain symptoms. Here are some of the more common symptoms:

  • A persistent dread of being separated from home, partner, or children
  • Constant thoughts about how long it will be until you see your loved ones again
  • Nervousness when you’re close to saying goodbye
  • Intrusive thoughts about what would happen if something happened to your loved ones while they were away
  • Inability to find relief after saying goodbye
  • The constant worry that something is wrong with the people left at home

Excessive distress before and during separation.

Many people with separation anxiety experience intense feelings of panic, dread, and fear before they separate from their loved one. They may be physically or emotionally upset during this time.

Excessive worry about losing the attachment figure

If you’re dealing with separation anxiety, chances are you worry about losing the person that is leaving. This can happen for a number of reasons. For example, your partner may be leaving to take on a new job in another city.

This excessive worry about losing the attachment figure will cause you to lose sleep and experience panic attacks. You might start having nightmares about how your loved one is moving away forever. This usually causes people with separation anxiety to become clingy and needy around their loved ones.

In most cases, this symptom of separation anxiety in adults can be avoided if you start preparing for the changes early on; for example, by discussing what you need to do when a loved one leaves or by talking about potential solutions or alternatives if they leave unexpectedly.

Reluctance to sleep away from the attachment figure

For most people, it isn’t a big deal to sleep at a friend’s house for the night. But for some with separation anxiety, it is. One of the symptoms of separation anxiety in adults is a reluctance to sleep away from their attachment figure.

This can be particularly difficult when you have children who need care during the first few years of life. Some may also have difficulty taking care of themselves when they are sick or injured because they are too afraid to be alone and sleep without their attachment figure around them.

Repeating nightmares about separation

One of the symptoms of separation anxiety in adults is repeating nightmares about your departure. In these nightmares, you have to leave your loved ones and can’t get back to them. The dreams are often intense and filled with emotion. If you experience this symptom, it might be a sign that your separation anxiety in adults is getting worse.

Excessive worry about events that may cause separation from the attachment figure

The other symptom of separation anxiety in adults is excessive worry about events that may cause separation from the attachment figure.

This is when the person’s worry or fear becomes so great that it causes significant distress and impairment. For example, this might be a person who can’t sleep because they are worried that their loved one will die during the night and they won’t be there to say goodbye.

Reluctance to leave the separation figure

If you’re having trouble leaving the person you’re with, it could be a symptom of separation anxiety. You may also have a difficult time being apart from your children or pets.

You may feel overly attached to the person you’re with and worry about them when they leave. Or, when you leave, you might have difficulty being away from them for extended periods of time. It can be difficult to imagine life without the person you love after feeling anxious about being separated for too long for too many times.

Fear of abandonment

If you fear that someone will abandon you after a separation, it’s possible that your anxiety is caused by separation anxiety in adults. When this happens, people may cling to their loved ones and become nervous when they think about being left alone. They may also try to control their loved one’s behavior because they are afraid of abandonment themselves.

Negative mood changes

People who suffer from separation anxiety in adults might experience negative mood changes when they are separated from the person they care most about. Perhaps they become sad or angry when they are apart and have difficulty concentrating on anything else but the separation figure or object in their mind’s eye.

Why can’t you always tell when you’re feeling anxious?

Persistent and excessive fear of being alone

This symptom is one of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety in adults. The fear of being alone can make it difficult for people to be in their own homes. For some, leaving home to do simple tasks, like grocery shopping, becomes a challenge.

Recurring physical symptoms during real or anticipated separation

You might experience recurring physical symptoms during real or anticipated separation from a loved one. For example, you might feel nauseous and have an upset stomach before leaving work to go home, or your heart may start racing and you’ll begin to sweat before going in for a job interview.

Lack of concentration

It’s estimated that about 75% of those with separation anxiety disorder report struggling to concentrate on tasks when they are feeling anxious. Your thoughts will constantly be on the person you are leaving behind which means that anything else in your life becomes less important. As a result, it becomes harder for you to focus on things like work or school as your mind is constantly preoccupied.


Feelings of irritability often accompany feelings of separation anxiety. You may find yourself snapping at people who try to make friendly small talk with you, or become frustrated when someone bumps into you without apologizing. This is because not only do these feelings cause distress, but they also make it hard for you to relax and enjoy time spent with others.

What are the risk factors for developing separation anxiety in adults?

Humans are not born with the innate ability to feel comfortable around change and new environments. This is something that most adults can relate to. Many adults feel uncomfortable when they have to leave the familiar surroundings of their homes and venture out into a new environment.

In such situations, the feeling of anxiety can creep up on a person. It can also be triggered by external factors such as a change in routine, a new place, or a group of people for whom a particular environment is unfamiliar.

There are several risk factors that can make a situation worse, increasing the chances of a person developing separation anxiety. Risk factors for separation anxiety in adults: obsessive-compulsive disorder, co-existing anxiety disorder, childhood adversity, childhood trauma, worry or stress, and
significant life changes.

How to Help Someone With Separation Anxiety

It’s important that you understand the symptoms of separation anxiety in adults so you can seek help. Separation anxiety is defined as a disorder in which people experience a sense of dread or fear when they are parted from those to whom they are attached. People can have excessive worry, irritability, and restlessness when they are separated from their loved ones.

Tips for Cope With a Loved One With Separation Anxiety

If you’re dealing with separation anxiety in adults, you can use these tips to cope with a loved one who has separation anxiety:

* Don’t leave the person alone when they’re experiencing symptoms of separation anxiety.

* They may experience severe panic, nausea, or other physical symptoms.

* These symptoms can sometimes be overcome by taking deep breaths and formulating an escape plan.

* If the person is an attachment-based type of individual, encourage them to talk about their feelings and make sure they know you will see them again soon.

* It may also help to make a list of things they enjoy doing while they are away from home. This will offer some comfort when they are away from home.

How to know if I have adult separation anxiety?

Diagnosis of separation anxiety in adults is done by asking about the symptoms you are experiencing and then using the criteria, including those used in the DSM-5 to make a deduction. But if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor.

1) You have a difficult time leaving home, even when you know it’s for a short period of time.

2) Leaving home causes significant anxiety that doesn’t go away after you return.

3) You experience feelings of depression or excessive worry when thinking about being separated from loved ones.

4) You experience physical symptoms like stomachaches, nausea, headaches, and chest pain when leaving home.

5) You always feel anxious around friends and loved ones who are leaving home because they might not come back.

How to treat separation anxiety in adults?

Psychotherapy to treat Agoraphobia

Some people can manage their separation anxiety on their own, but for others, treatment is necessary. Self-help methods include breathing exercises to calm the body, deep muscle relaxation exercises to ease stress, or meditation techniques to calm the mind.

Medications can also be used to help reduce anxiety symptoms in adults. If you’re experiencing a high level of anxiety, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or antipsychotics.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven effective at treating separation anxiety in adults by teaching coping strategies. Support groups and therapy are also options for adults who struggle with separation anxiety because they offer the opportunity for socializing and sharing feelings with others who understand what it’s like to live with this condition.

Separation anxiety in adults is not uncommon, and there are plenty of ways to cope with it. Be sure that you’re taking care of yourself–no one else will do it for you!

Final Verdict

Separation anxiety is a common and distressing condition that affects many children, but what factors make it worse in adults? It’s not just that the children have nowhere to go and nothing to do, but also that their parents have been more equipped to handle the situation.

A child’s separation anxiety from their parents is sad; however, the parents know that the child will be back with them soon. For adults, on the other hand, separation is especially difficult and can even be dangerous.

When a parent is separated from their child for more than two days, this is known as parental separation anxiety. This article will discuss the risk factors that make separation anxiety such a big issue in adults.

When two adults are living together, it’s not unusual for them to have their fair share of troubles from time to time. Whether it’s their annoying roommates, family members who don’t approve of their relationship, or trying to balance work, school, and social life, it can be challenging for almost anyone to strike a happy medium.

However, for some adults living together, their struggles can be especially difficult. They’re not just feeling overwhelmed by the normal complexities of adult life, but also the stresses of living with someone.

Although it can be helpful to have someone to lean on during trying times, additional stressors can have a negative effect on a person’s ability to cope with them. This is especially true for adults who are suffering from separation anxiety.


How do I know if I’m having separation anxiety?

You can use the different symptoms of separation anxiety in adults to find out if you have performance anxiety in adults. They include:
Recurrent and excessive distress about anticipating or being away from home or loved ones
Significant distress when away from home or loved ones
Stress and worry when faced with being away from home or loved ones
Excessive worry about loved one’s safety while they are away
Excessive anger, irritability, mood swings, and/or depression when separated from loved ones
Extreme agitation and restlessness when faced with being away from home or loved ones
Symptoms lasting more than four weeks