Natural separation anxiety only turns into a condition called separation anxiety disorder (SAD) if symptoms persist after the age of three, they are intense or prolonged, and they interfere with school and/or other daily activities.
Babies and toddlers can get upset and cry if they are separated from their parents and other caregivers even for a few minutes, which is a normal part of childhood development. Children usually grow out of separation anxiety by the age of three.
SAD can impact family life negatively, limiting the frequency and extent of family activities and frustrating parents and siblings with the amount of attention the child with SAD requires.
SAD is a fairly common condition that affects 3% – 5% of children, and it is considered to be a general indicator of potential mental health and mood disorder issues.