Thursday, August 18, 2011
Many children go through separation anxiety at a later age

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Everyone knows that infants go through a period of separation anxiety. What is less obvious is that there are many children who have separation anxiety at later ages. A classic example is the child who goes off to kindergarten. There are some children who look forward to going to school while others have no desire to leave their mother for the entire day. These children have obvious issues with separation. These children can be expected to have the same kind of problems going back after school vacations. It is true if the vacation is short such as Christmas or Easter break and it is also true after longer breaks like summer vacation. I once heard a speaker address the "epidemic" of separation anxiety every September. The symptoms are not always so obvious. There are other things that can be evidence of separation anxiety. One is the child that does not like to sleep away from home. An overnight stay can be a difficult experience for them. A second symptom is the child who does not like to be away from his/her family. This is similar to the child who is afraid to be alone in the house. A third symptom is the child that wants to go with their mother or father when they leave the house. It might be when they go shopping, to church or to the movies. A fourth symptom is the child who does not like to sleep alone. They might complain about being afraid of the dark or needing someone to stay with them. They might have other related complaints. However, the underlying issue is the separation that occurs when they close their eyes and go to sleep. A fifth symptom is the child who is afraid of being alone in the house. This is natural in the younger child but should improve as they get older. This is similar to the child who does not like to sleep alone. A sixth symptom is the child who worries that something bad might happen to his or her parent. This may take the form of a nightmare. A seventh symptom is similar. It is worrying about something bad happening rather than having nightmares about it. It might take the form of worrying or asking questions out loud. An eighth symptom is related to this - thinking something bad might happen to the child himself/herself. Those are eight questions we ask if we have a child who might have separation issues. We ask if this is sometimes the case (scored 1 point) or if it happens often (2 points). The maximum score is then 16 points (all 8 areas are often seen). Separation anxiety is felt to be present if the score reaches 5 or higher. The higher the score, the more of an issue it is. Most children will sometimes have one or two of these things occur occasionally. However, the numbers quickly add up for the fearful and anxious child. The higher the score, the more important it is for the child to get formal therapy right away. The good news about therapy for this kind of thing is that it usually is a short course of visits. Frequently, denial of the problem leads to it not being treated for years. Like any other problem, the longer you wait the worse it will get. Separation anxiety is much more common than most people realize.

Annual walk hopes to raise $70k

By Lynn R. Parks

Everyone's talking about Sussex County's premier Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk and run held last year, Theresa Young, state vice president for the Delmarva Peninsula chapter of the American Cancer Society, told organizers at a kickoff dinner for this year's run. "You are the talk of the town," Young said. "You were able to pull off having 645 participants in your first year and everybody wants to do what you did. You are an amazing and inspiring bunch." This year's Sussex Making Strides event will be Sunday, Oct. 2, at Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown. Organizer Mary Catherine Hopkins, Bethel, hopes to raise $70,000. Last year's walk and run brought in $50,000. The kickoff dinner was held last Wednesday at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church. Breast cancer survivor Gerri Coble, Bridgeville, told the audience of about 50 that she will always be grateful that she kept the appointment she had made for a mammogram in early 2010. She was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the earliest form of breast cancer, and was successfully treated. "Don't make excuses," she cautioned the audience. "I thank God every day that I didn't make excuses for not getting my mammogram. Pledge to yourself and to your family to take care of yourself and to get your mammograms." Surgeon Steve Carey, Seaford, also addressed the audience. He said that of all the illnesses he treats, breast cancer causes the most anxiety and fear. "Nothing is more emotional in my practice than breast disease," he said. Like Coble, Carey urged women to get regular mammograms. "Ultimately our goal is education," he said. "We can save lives because early detection works." Senior vice president Tom Brown represented Nanticoke Health Services, Seaford, at the dinner. When he was thanked for Nanticoke's participation, he said that he would be "embarrassed to say that we aren't supporting this." He added, "This is in keeping with our mission but also with our heart." As it was last year, this year's run and walk are being organized by Rob Perciful, Bridgeville, retired Seaford High School teacher and coach. Both run and walk will wind through the Del Tech campus and will finish in the middle of a bridge that crosses a stream there. Registration for the run and walk will start at 7 a.m. Runners will take off at 8:30 a.m. and walkers at 9 a.m. The event will also feature children's activities, including a moon bounce, face painting and a truck show. For your information The Sussex County Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and run will be Sunday, Oct. 2, at Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown. For details, call Mary Catherine Hopkins, 875-7308. Information about the run is also available on the website

NMH offers diabetes education Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford will hold a four-session diabetes educational program on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6, 13& 20, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the hospital.

Registration is required. The cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. Family members and significant others are welcome to attend the weekly sessions. To register and to obtain more information about the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Nanticoke golf tournaments Nanticoke Health Services will host the twenty-fifth annual golf tournament on Thursday, Sept. 22 and Friday, Sept. 23, at Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville. Thursday's tournament will be Ladies Day, and Friday's tournament will be the traditional tournament open to men and women. The tournament will consist of 18 holes with four-person teams utilizing a handicapped scramble format. Participants will enjoy a fun-filled day at Heritage Shores Club, an Arthur Hills classic links style course.Both days will consist of practice, 18-holes of golf, food, gross and net team prizes.A full field of participants is expected for each day. Enthusiastic golfers will have numerous chances to test their skills by competing in on-course activities. Additional avenues of supporting the tournaments include Eagle, Birdie and Par levels of sponsorship, as well as Tee sign and Pink Links sponsorships. Sponsorship opportunities are available to individuals and businesses. Proceeds from the tournaments will benefit an expansion to Nanticoke's Cardiac Catheterization Lab.Time is the leading factor in reducing death due to heart attack and stroke.The expansion of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab will help ease possible delays emergent cases cause and continue to raise the level of services Nanticoke Health Services provides to the community. More information and registration forms for the tournaments are available online at, or by contacting the Nanticoke Health Services Foundation office at 629-6611, ext. 8944 or

Free prostate cancer screenings Bayhealth Medical Center will offer prostate cancer screenings free to those who qualify during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September. These screenings are part of Bayhealth's continuing efforts to educate the community and help people identify cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men according to the American Cancer Society. Annual screenings are recommended if you're a man over the age of 50, or over the age of 40 with a family history of prostate cancer in a close relative diagnosed before age 65. African-American men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer and should begin screenings at the age of 40. The Bayhealth Cancer Institute is providing prostate cancer screenings which consist of a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and a digital rectal exam (DRE). The screenings are free to those who qualify but pre-registration is required no later than one week before the screening. For any questions, and to register, call 430-5064 or 744-6752. In Milford, screenings will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Bayhealth Cancer Center located at 21 W. Clarke Ave.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. "New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Hospice begins 'Coffee Break' series Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will begin holding a monthly Coffee Break Series of inspirational life stories. The first session will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 24, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. Guest speaker, Darryl Duke will speak on the topic of addictions, "Do I Sound Like an Alcoholic to You?" Darryl Duke has counseled alcoholics, addicts and troubled teenagers for several years and has authored a self-improvement book, "Why I Pray in the Shower:A Journey from Fear to Belief in Myself." There is no fee; however, registration is required. The Coffee Break Series will be held on the 4th Wednesday of each month, where members of the community will tell their inspiring life stories of experience, strength or hope. Each month will be a different topic and Hospice will provide community resources surrounding that topic. Register or learn more about the Coffee Break Series or other Family Support Center activities by contacting Vicki Costa, associate director of the Family Support Center, at 856-7717, ext. 1129, or