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Separation anxiety is a developmentally appropriate response in young children upon separation from their primary caregivers. This is normal for infants from 6 to 30 months of age and usually intensifies between 13 and 18 months of age (Kearney et al. 2003). Separation anxiety typically declines between 3 and 5 years of age as a result of the child's cognitive maturation that allows the child to comprehend that separation from a caregiver is temporary. SAD occurs when the child demonstrates developmentally inappropriate distress associated with separation from a primary caregiver (American Psychiatric Association 2000). The DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for SAD are presented in Table 21–1.

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Table Reference Number
TABLE 21–1. DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for separation anxiety disorder
Table Reference Number
TABLE 21–2. Comorbidity rates in separation anxiety disorder

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