Important Facts You Need To Know About Separation Anxiety in Teenage Relationships

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Signs And Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety In Teenage Relationships
-The most common symptom of separation anxiety is feeling anxious or nervous apart from your partner
-Trying to control your partner’s whereabouts
-Feeling jealous of your partner’s friends or activities
-Having trouble sleeping

Physical Symptoms
– headaches
– stomachaches
– nausea

How To Overcome Separation Anxiety In Teenagers?
– Talking To Your Parents Or Guardians
– Practice Mindfulness
– Exercise
– Keep A Journal
– Talk To A Mental Health Professional

How Is Separation Anxiety Disorder Treated in Teens?
– Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
– Medication
– Family Therapy
– In-School-care

Separation anxiety in teenage relationships is common among teenagers. This can often lead to feelings of insecurity, crippling anxiety, and even depression. If you're in a relationship, it's essential to identify these fears and work together to overcome them.

Separation anxiety is a common issue that can arise in teenage relationships. It can be caused by various things, such as moving away from home, going to college, or even just growing apart from your partner. If you're feeling anxious about your relationship, this article can help you understand what's going on and how to overcome it.

What is separation anxiety disorder?

Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs when a person is separated from someone they are attached to. This can be caused by several things, such as moving away from home, going to college, or even just growing apart from your partner.

According to the National Library of Medicine, separation anxiety is more common in childhood, with up to 41% of children experiencing it at some point. [1] Research suggests that 4.1% of children suffer from clinical-level separation anxiety, and 36.1% of these kids will continue to have this issue into adulthood if not treated properly.[2]

Separation Anxiety Disorder in childhood can manifest itself in several different ways, such as:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares about being separated from your loved one
  • Crying and clinginess when someone tries to leave
  • Refusing to go to school or participate in activities that would separate you from your parent or caregiver
  • Excessive worry about losing your loved one
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and nausea

If a child experiences these symptoms for more than four weeks, they may be diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder. In teenagers, separation anxiety can manifest itself differently. As explained above, those with separation anxiety as a child are more likely to experience it again in adolescence or adolescence. And if you're unsure if you have anxiety at all, we recommend this free Anxiety Test.

What causes separation anxiety in teenagers?

A teen girl struggling with her Separation Anxiety

Several different things can cause separation anxiety in teenagers. These include:

  • Moving away from home: One of the most common triggers for separation anxiety is moving away from home. This can be caused by several things, such as going to college, getting a job in a different city, or even just going on an extended vacation.
  • Going through a breakup: Another common trigger for separation anxiety is a breakup. This can be difficult for any teenager, but it can be challenging if you're not used to being apart from your partner. This may also cause obsessive love disorder. Learn more about OLD from What Is Obsessive Love Disorder?
  • Growing apart from your friends: As you age, you may find that you and your friends start to grow apart. This can be a normal part of life but also trigger separation anxiety.

Signs and symptoms of separation anxiety in teenage relationships

Separation Anxiety in Teenage Relationships Table

Several signs and symptoms can indicate that you or your partner suffers from a separation anxiety disorder. These include:

  • The most common symptom of separation anxiety is feeling anxious or nervous apart from your partner. If you're constantly worrying about what your partner is doing or who they're with when you're not around, it may be a sign that you have separation anxiety.
  • Trying to control your partner's whereabouts: Another common symptom of separation anxiety is trying to control your partner's whereabouts. If you're always asking where they are or what they're doing, it may signal that you feel anxious about being away from them.
  • Feeling jealous of your partner's friends or activities: If you're jealous of them, it may signify feeling insecure in the relationship. This can be a regular part of any relationship, but if you're feeling excessively jealous, it may signify separation anxiety.
  • Having trouble sleeping: If you're having trouble sleeping, it may be a sign that you're worried about being away from your partner. This can include difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or having nightmares about being apart from your partner.
  • Physical symptoms: Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and nausea can signify separation anxiety. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you must talk to your doctor or mental health professional.

Several different factors can increase your risk of developing separation anxiety. These include:

  • Having a parent with separation anxiety: If you have a parent with separation anxiety, you're more likely to develop the condition.
  • Having another anxiety disorder: If you have another anxiety disorder, such as social anxiety disorder or panic disorder, you're more likely to develop separation anxiety.
  • Experiencing a traumatic event: If you've experienced a traumatic event, such as the death of a parent or a natural disaster, you're more likely to develop separation anxiety.
  • Having a family history of anxiety: If your family members have anxiety disorders, you're more likely to develop separation anxiety.

What happens if separation anxiety is untreated?

A mother talking to her son about his Separation Anxiety

If separation anxiety is left untreated, it can lead to several different problems. These include:

  • Academic problems: Separation anxiety can lead to academic issues, such as missing school or inability to concentrate in class. [3]
  • Social isolation: If you're constantly worried about being away from your partner, you may start withdrawing from social activities, according to the NIH book "Separation Anxiety." This can lead to social isolation and loneliness. [4]
  • Depression: Severe separation anxiety can also lead to depression. This can include feeling sad, hopeless, and worthless. If you're experiencing these symptoms, you must talk to your doctor or mental health professional. [5]
  • Anxiety disorders: Separation anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder. Left untreated, it can lead to other anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety or panic disorder. [6] Learn more about another anxiety disorder High Functioning Anxiety: What is it?

If you think you or your partner may suffer separation anxiety, you must talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you identify the symptoms and develop a treatment plan.

How to overcome separation anxiety in teenagers infographic

How to overcome separation anxiety in teenagers?

If you're a teenager who is struggling with separation anxiety, there are several things you can do to overcome it. These include:

Talking to your parents or guardians

If you're feeling anxious about being away from your parents or guardians, talk to them about it. They can help you develop a plan to ease your anxiety.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that can help you focus on the present moment and let go of anxious thoughts. Studies have shown that mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. [7]

Tip: Crystals can help with anxiety. Several different crystals can help with anxiety. These include amethyst, rose quartz, and sodalite. You can use these crystals when meditating or carry them with you throughout the day. Check out SHARKOOO Thumb Worry Stone for Anxiety.


Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. It can also help you sleep better, which can reduce anxiety. [8]

Keep a journal

Writing in a journal can help you track your anxiety and see how it changes over time. It can also be a way to express your thoughts and feelings.

Get professional help

If you're struggling with excessive anxiety or have more panic attacks than you can manage, it's essential to talk to a doctor or seek professional advice. They can help you understand your anxiety, what may trigger it, and how to manage it effectively. With this in mind, we encourage you to read our blog post, "You Need To Know This: Understanding the 6 Anxiety Recovery Stages". This post delves into the various stages of anxiety recovery, providing deeper insights into what to expect and how to cope with each stage.

If you're having suicidal thoughts, getting help immediately is essential. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak to a counselor. You can also text "HOME" to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

How is separation anxiety disorder treated in teens?

A teen girl struggling with her Separation Anxiety from her mother

According to Stanford Medicine, several treatment options exist for teenagers' separation anxiety. [9] These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that can help you change the way you think about anxiety. It can also help you learn new coping skills.
  • Medication: Medication can be used to treat anxiety. However, talking to a doctor or mental health professional is essential before starting any medicine.
  • Family Therapy: Incorporating the family members, mainly parents, while treating the child.
  • In-School-care: The school may also be engaged in the care of a youngster. For example, the child's school might act as his or her daycare provider.

If you're struggling with anxiety, several resources are available to help you. These include:

Important: If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text "HOME" to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

A young girl struggling with her Separation Anxiety from her family

Personal Stories About People & Parents Who've Experienced Separation Anxiety


A parent finds themselves grappling with their toddler's severe separation anxiety, particularly at bedtime, which started seven months ago during a period of family illness. The toddler requires one of her parents to stay by her crib each night until she falls asleep, a process that lasts approximately 45 minutes, causing significant distress and leading to a recommendation from their pediatrician to let her cry it out, even up to 90 minutes. The parents are concerned about their child's well-being and their own, as this demanding situation strains their relationship and prevents them from tending to other responsibilities.

As they are attempting to teach their daughter to sleep independently, they are faced with heart-wrenching cries and pleas, causing the mother such distress that she often has to move out of hearing range. However, it's noted that despite the emotional turmoil, the child typically cries for 10-15 minutes and never beyond 25 minutes before sleep eventually overcomes her. The mother, having been heavily abused as a child, worries about the potential psychological impact on her daughter and questions the correctness of her approach. In response to her concerns, one user suggests a strategy of gradual separation, where the child is reassured that the parent will return in a few minutes, a method that has worked well for this user's family.

Read u/hypertonica's story.

Grace Turner

In June 2021, Grace Turner, typically an independent and strong-willed girl, had her first panic attack. These panic attacks, characterized by fear, panic, and sickness, led to a diagnosis of separation anxiety made by therapists at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center. The turning point came during a seemingly routine outing to the mall on her birthday, when Grace ended up spending hours in the bathroom stall, a precursor to her anxiety related to food and separation from her mother. Grace's anxiety grew to such an extent that she feared something bad would happen to her mother or herself if they were separated, demonstrated when Grace clung to her mother's moving car, desperate to keep her from leaving.

In response to Grace's escalating anxiety and its debilitating effects, her mother, Rebecca, sought professional help from Loma Linda University Behavioral Health. Grace's treatment involved an intensive outpatient program led by Kaitlyn McLaughlin. The program equipped Grace to identify her feelings of anxiousness, develop skills to confront her anxieties, and reward her progress. Following two months in the program, Grace successfully graduated, bringing about a positive transformation in her family dynamics. Today, Grace continues to use the tools she acquired from the program, proudly asserting, "My name is Grace, and I have anxiety," thereby acknowledging her anxiety as a part of her life rather than letting it define her. Loma Linda University Behavioral Health continues to offer programs for youth mental health and separation anxiety, inspired by stories like Grace's.

Read Grace Turner story.


Separation anxiety is a common disorder often observed in younger children and teenagers. It can be managed with several methods, including cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, medication, self-care, and now more than ever, online therapy.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, numerous resources, including online therapy platforms, are available to help. If left untreated, this condition can evolve into adult separation anxiety disorder and potentially lead to other mental health problems. Therefore, whether you're dealing with separation anxiety or any other form of anxiety disorder, seeking professional advice, including online therapy, is crucial.


Is Separation Anxiety Normal In Relationships?

No, separation anxiety is not customary in relationships. However, it is common for people to feel some pressure when they're apart from their partner. If you're struggling with anxiety, get professional help.

Why Does It Hurt When My Boyfriend Leaves?

It's common to feel some anxiety when your boyfriend leaves. However, if you're struggling with excessive anxiety or panic attacks, it's important to get professional help.


1 National Library of Medicine: Anxiety in a neglected population: prevalence of anxiety disorders in pre-adolescent children



4 NIH book: Separation Anxiety

5 NIH book: Separation Anxiety

6 Springer journal: Effects of Length of Mindfulness Practice on Mindfulness, Depression, Anxiety, and Stress".

7 Mayo Clinic: Exercise and stress - Get moving to manage stress

8 Stanford Medicine: Separation Anxiety Disorder in Children

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