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Reactive Attachment Disorder

Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) occurs when children don’t form the important bond that normally develops between an infant and a parent. It’s most common in babies and young children who have experienced serious abuse or neglect.

A child with RAD might show signs of depression or become irritable or angry easily. They may not trust adults and might hide from them. They might also be resistant to comfort or affection. The American Psychiatric Association defines RAD as “a pattern of behavior caused by severe maltreatment in their caregiving experience,” and states that those who suffer from RAD often have trouble forming and maintaining relationships.

People who aren’t parents can be at risk for developing RAD, too. This includes babies and children who spend time in an institution, like an orphanage, who don’t have a parental figure to help them form healthy attachments. Kids who experience frequent changes in caregivers might also be at risk for RAD, as can those who have a history of mental health issues.

Many experts believe that a child’s ability to attach is linked to their experiences in early childhood. If they’re not able to form a healthy bond with their primary caregiver, then it can affect how well they’ll do as an adult. Children with RAD often have trouble in school and are more likely to get into trouble at home, too.

RAD is usually diagnosed in a child between the ages of nine months and five years. A doctor will check to make sure the symptoms aren’t caused by autism, since the two disorders have some of the same signs. To be diagnosed with RAD, a child must seem sad or fearful and not respond when their caregiver tries to make them feel better. They might also have a hard time following instructions and learning new things.

Reactive attachment disorder is usually a lifelong condition, but it’s treatable. A treatment center that specializes in helping kids with RAD can teach parents and caregivers about how to help their child heal. They can help the child build a safe, stable environment where they can thrive. They can provide counseling for the child, and they can work with the parents to teach them how to be a supportive, nurturing caregiver.

Reactive attachment disorder reactive attachment disorder isn’t easy for anyone to deal with, but knowing what you can do to help is crucial. If you’re a parent who has a child with RAD, be patient and take it day by day. It won’t be easy, but you’ll eventually see the benefits of your efforts. If you’re a caregiver who works with children with RAD, consider joining a support group to talk to other professionals who understand what you’re going through.

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