Can a 15 month old toddler vomit in bed as a result of Separation Anxiety?

(February 23, 2010)

Separation anxiety is defined as toddler or child’s apprehension that is associated with separation from either a parent or a caregiver. Even animals show signs of separation anxiety when separated from their owners. Hence separation anxiety is acute distress or anxiety brought on by separation or even just the fear of separation. Separation anxiety is normal during the course of development. In infants, it emerges during the later stages of development. It reflects a certain stage of brain development rather than the onset of any behavioral problems. But an anxiety disorder is a prolonged separation anxiety. Normally separation anxiety starts around eight or 10 moths and is at its height by 18 months. It starts to lessen normally by around 3 years of age.

Toddlers react in various ways and show a minimum of three symptoms repeatedly, on the basis of which it can be conclusively determined that the child is suffering from a separation anxiety disorder.  These include excessive alarm or distress when required to leave the parent or caregiver or even distress shown in anticipation of having to leave, extreme fear that something bad will happen to them, when they are away from their care giver. They may also have nightmares usually involving the leaving of their parent or care giver. There may be accompanied illnesses like vomiting, stomach pains, headaches or dizziness exhibited. They may be unwilling to be left alone even when in their own homes or familiar set ups.

To help cure the child of this problem, parents need to first try and ease the fear that accompanies the distress at being separated. An important point to remember is that adult logic does not work in this case. Since it is an emotional state words does not help to really cure the problem. The main tool used is body language.  The adult will need to reassure the child but by demonstrating to the child in many ways. Try introducing the toddler to other people at the place that he or she will be going. Help the toddler to make more friends either at the play school or park or with the baby sitter. Be around for when the child will need you. Either sit in the class or stand outside the class so the child knows that the parent is still there. Let the child get natural in their surrounding’s before the parent goes away. What a toddler really needs around this time is reassurance that their parent or care giver really loves them and will always be there for them.

Submitted by P T on February 23, 2010 at 10:24

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