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Adult Separation Anxiety

QUESTION: Is adult separation anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder the same thing?


Adult separation anxiety disorder is not the same thing as generalized anxiety disorder. In reality, adult separation anxiety is much less common than childhood separation anxiety and usually only manifests itself as a symptom of a bigger issue. Adults may suffer with separation anxiety disorder when dealing with a marital separation, or even death. Occasionally, a parent may struggle with separation anxiety as a child becomes more socialized and less dependant upon mom or dad for companionship. Adult separation anxiety disorder can also occur as a symptom of a developing form of another kind of anxiety often associated with certain types of phobias.

Generalized anxiety disorder does not confine itself to fear or worry associated with being separated from a loved one or from a familiar environment. Instead, it is a pervasive, ongoing feeling of anxiety and/or worry that may impact relationships, health and well-being, and the workplace. Individuals who suffer with generalized anxiety disorder frequently feel a sense of impending doom that may not be associated with anything specific. If symptoms of anxiety occur over a protracted period of time, panic attacks may also occur. Although there is no research to specifically link separation anxiety to generalized anxiety disorder, some adults who suffer with separation anxiety disorder may be predisposed to develop another form of anxiety later in life.

Treatment interventions to help adults who are suffering with adult separation anxiety and/or generalized anxiety disorder include a number of different approaches.
  • Cognitive therapy is used to help determine whether excessive fears are linked to irrational thought processes or misinformation.

  • Behavioral techniques are used to assist anxiety sufferers with taking necessary steps to act positively in spite of an ongoing struggle with associated fears.
The Bible offers an alternative strategy that focuses on the biblical truth that God's love offers freedom from fear of life's circumstances and outcomes. When adult separation anxiety is addressed through the application of spiritual truth, the sufferer does not bear the burden of his own healing, but is encouraged to trust in someone who is bigger and infinitely more powerful. Believers in Jesus Christ are encouraged to find comfort in biblical passages such as Romans 8:38, that promise that ". . .neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

In the presence of a higher power that is able to protect and preserve, individuals may find help and healing from emotional and mental health issues like adult separation anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder.

Learn More About Separation Anxiety!

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