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separation anxiety disorder

(6 Posts)
empemm Wed 12-Sep-12 11:01:02

has anybody come across separation anxiety disorder before in a nearly 11 year old? my dd has been getting more and more anxious and clingy since may and i am barely allowed out of the house now. we gave her a phone for when we went out but we get constant texts as to what we are doing and if we are safe. she went back to school last week and came home because she was feeling unwell which i know was anxiety and is now not sleeping and refusing to go to school although i am making her. her best friend left the school this year and i have asked her if it is that but she says no, although i think it has affected her. she thinks something will happen to me whenever she is not with me. she is a bit like it with my husband although not as bad. i was away at the weekend and my husband said she held a photo of me all weekend, held my pillow and wore my hat all the time, this sounds like she is losing the plot. it is affecting my other younger children now too, they are becoming anxious. so i wondered if anyone had ever been through it and out the other side as it were???

mashedpotatohead Wed 12-Sep-12 13:51:28

I'm sorry Em, I have no advice but wanted to bump this for you. Sounds like a very difficult situation. Hoping someone else can help you x

empemm Wed 12-Sep-12 14:00:54

mashedpotatohead...thank you

Weissbier Sun 07-Oct-12 12:48:13

I wonder if you can you do a deal with her where you start by saying, OK, you are going out, you will have your phone on and you will be back by x o'clock. Do this a few times and always answer your phone and always be back when you say you will be. Then say you are going out, will be back by x o'clock, and she should try to resist phoning to check you are safe (obviously she can still phone if there is a problem or emergency, or she may phone you once to check or something like that) before then.

I was quite an anxious child (didn't have school refusal or need my mum's pillow though, so this might not be a good comparison) and my parents were understanding and made sure they were back on time or they would ring - but they also never changed their plans or stopped going out because of it. Maybe it's about striking a balance between acknowledging her feelings, yet also showing her that they are exaggerated - she's old enough to understand this. She's also old enough to understand how her anxiety is affecting younger children and to realise that is not fair on them - she won't be able to control her anxiety as well as an adult, but she should be able to see that it causes problems and is not rational.

I don't know what to suggest about the school refusal though, and the photo holding all weekend - it might be that it's appropriate to treat that the same way as phoning all the time (starting to gently restrict it) but I'm not confident suggesting that because I've got no experience of this issue. If this continues I would talk to her GP first.

Ineedalife Sun 07-Oct-12 16:22:07

Hi emm, I have a Dd who is 10 and has separation anxiety. She has not had it diagnosed as it is part of her Aspergers.

She has struggles with separation all her life and when she is away from us she also worries that something bad will happen to us.

She is like your Dd in that most of her anxiety is based around me.

I have only been away for one night in her whole life and she has only stayed away from home alone twice.

Because of the aspergers she has great difficulty in telling us what it is that she is worried about.

She has an amazing SENCO at school who has had experience of this and who has really helped us in the last 12 months. She moved to this school recently. The old school were rubbish and just used to let her get so anxious that she vomitted and then they sent her home.

I think you should go to your GP and ask for a referral to CAMHS. They may be a long wait so I would do it soon.

Also speak to the SENCO at school and see how they are going to help your Dd.
It is part of the schools job to support children with special needs and this level of anxiety is definitly a special need.

Sorry this is so long and I hope some of it helps.

You could join us on the Special needs:children board, it is a really friendly place and there are a few of us with Dc's with anxiety type issues.

Good lucksmile

Northernsoul58 Mon 08-Oct-12 16:46:35

It is difficult to break the cycle of fear and anxiety but maybe your DD needs to be reassured very firmly that you - her parents - are in charge and it is your job to keep her safe. Tell her that as adults you are very, very good at looking after not only yourselves but the whole family. Therefore she should be able to trust you to be safe. And that you will always be there to take care of her. It might sound a bit obvious but if you reassert the idea that you are in control of her she might feel less anxious.
You don't say how she gets to school, but with my DS when he had a period of anxiety (Yr 5) I talked to his teacher and we agreed that I would hand him over to her directly (in a discreet way because most kids this age don't want to be seen with a parent) so that he felt 'owned' by an adult. Once in the classroom she would make sure he sat near her and check in with him once in a while to make sure he was OK.

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