separation anxiety disorder

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A mental disorder with onset before age 18 years, characterized by developmentally inappropriate and excessive separation anxiety relating to separation from home or from major attachment figures. Symptoms, which to satisfy the diagnostic criteria must persist for at least 4 weeks and must cause clinically significant distress or social, academic, or occupational problems, may include unrealistic fear of losing major attachment figures or of harm befalling them, refusal to attend school, refusal to sleep alone, repeated nightmares about separation, and complaints of somatic symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or vomiting when separation is threatened. See also anaclitic depression, hospitalism.

Subjects: Psychology.

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