3 Signs of Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder That Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Anxiety disorders can take any number forms with feelings of fear or anxiety varying based on each person’s circumstances. For people who experience feelings of fear in the absence of a loved one or significant for no logical reason, adult separation anxiety disorder, or ASAD may be to blame.

Adult separation anxiety disorder shares many of the same characteristics as the more commonly know child separation anxiety disorder. If you suspect you or someone you know is affected by this condition, understanding what signs to watch for can help you take steps towards getting needed treatment help.

For information on treatment options, call our toll-free helpline at 888-647-0051 (Who Answers?) .

Features of Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder

Adult separation anxiety disorder can develop out of any number of circumstances, some of which include:

  • A troubled relationship
  • The death of a loved one
  • Marital separation

In each instance, someone affected by ASAD experiences considerable emotional distress when separated from someone close to him or her, according to the journal of BMC Psychiatry. These feelings stem from a fear that something bad will happen to the loved one while gone.

Signs to Watch For

1. Psychological Problems

Adult Separation Anxiety

Someone with ASAD may call their loved one several times a day.

Not unlike the more commonly known child separation anxiety disorder, the emotional distress brought on by ASAD predisposes a person to developing other forms of psychological disorder, according to Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

Psychological conditions commonly associated with adult separation anxiety disorder include:

2. Effects on Employment

Not surprisingly, daily work responsibilities can take a tremendous toll on someone affected by adult separation anxiety disorder. In this respect, even everyday obligations can trigger ASAD episodes.

Oftentimes, a person may go so far as to seek out non-traditional forms of employment, such as working with the loved one or not working at all. In effect, ASAD suffers engage in “safety” behaviors, such as calling the loved one several times a day or making frequent visits at the workplace.

These behaviors make it extremely difficult to hold down a traditional-type job for any length of time.

3. Lifestyle Effects

For many ASAD suffers, symptoms of the condition originate in childhood or with childhood separation anxiety. Under these conditions, a person develops a range of maladaptive behaviors to cope with the condition over the years.

ASAD symptoms can also be hard on relationships, placing significant others under considerable pressure on an ongoing basis. Consequently, people living with adult separation anxiety disorder tend to suffer considerable personal and social impairment in the form of:

  • Low education level
  • Divorce
  • Ongoing marital disruption
  • Unemployment
  • Inability to maintain intimate relationships


Risk Factors

As with any other type of anxiety problem, certain risk factors can make a person more vulnerable to developing adult separation anxiety disorder. One main risk factor entails having had over-protective parents in childhood.

Over-protective parents who worry excessively about a child can actually plant the seeds for separation anxiety to develop at some point in the child’s lifetime.

The loss of a loved one through death can also trigger separation anxiety symptoms.

If you need help finding treatment for adult separation anxiety disorder, please don’t hesitate to call our helpline at 888-647-0051 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our phone counselors.


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