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Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is among the most commonly diagnosed and impairing of childhood anxiety disorders. Previously, SAD was the only anxiety disorder classified as a disorder first identified in childhood or adolescence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR); it was formally reclassified within the anxiety disorders section in the DSM-5. SAD is characterized by atypically intense reactions to real or imagined separation from attachment figures; children with the disorder become significantly distressed when experiencing or anticipating separation from home or central attachment figures and will often take measures to avoid separation. This excessive worry and avoidance can interfere with daily activities and developmental tasks and, in some cases, can lead to further functional impairment in adulthood.

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