Separation anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder that usually begins in childhood and is characterized by worrying that is out of proportion to the situation of temporarily leaving home or otherwise separating from loved ones. Approximately 4%-5% of children and adolescents suffer from separation anxiety disorder.
The symptoms of separation anxiety includes persistently and excessively fearful or reluctant to be alone or without major attachment figures at home or without significant adults in other settings, persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a near a major attachment figure or to sleep away from home, repeated nightmares involving the theme of separation, repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated, repeated nightmares about being separated from the people who are important to the sufferer.
A 13-year–old boy presented to a chiropractor certified in the NET protocol in August 2005. The patient presented with a history of anxiety in relation to sleeping away from home and being away from his mother. This occurred whether it was at a friend's home or a school camp. He expressed his anxiety as a fear that something would happen to his mother and that she would not be able to return to pick him up. Whether the separation had occurred or was anticipated, the patient and his mother complained that he would experience fear, worry, trembling, sweating, “stomach churning,” and crying.