Home Relationships & Family Parenting Reactive Attachment Disorder

Top ways to Cope with Reactive Attachment Disorder


Reactive attachment disorder is a type of attachment disorder in children. It is classified by DSM 5 under the Trauma-and-Stressor-Related Disorders. It is known to occur when the child fails to receive right amount of comfort and care from their primary caregivers. The occurence of this disorder is fairly uncommon. It occurs in about 10% cases of children who are severely neglected in their upbringing. The important symptom of this disorder is the absence of attachment towards caregiving adults in children. As compared other normal or expected children, the child with RAD tend to turn away from their primary caregivers such as mother/father. They do not seek any type of comfort, support, protection for them.

The kids who have attachment disorders cannot connect with others and cannot even manage their emotions. There is a high chances of child having lost the self worth and trust. They cannot get close to anyone and always griped in fear which makes them feel unsafe and alone.

What is the reason children suffer from attachment disorders?

The answer to this question depends on the level and quality of interaction between parent and child.

The reactive attachment disorder in children is a result of negative experiences during early phase of relationships. If the child starting from infancy is abandoned, isolated and not cared for, he start feeling that the world if a dangerous and frightening place. He is not able to accept or expect an emotional and comforting response from anyone. Some of the typical early childhood reasons for kids become reactive for attachment is as follows:

1. When a baby cries there is no one to offer comfort
2. Baby is not attended for hours although he is wet and hungry.
3. There is no one to talks, smile and cuddle the baby, which makes him feel lonely.
4. Only when the child display extreme behaviour, he gets attention.
5. Baby is often mistreated and scolded.

Top 10 Typical Symptoms of Attachment Disorder

1. Kids do not keep eye contact with parents terms.
2. The kids just are destructive to self, others and material things
3. Display cruelty to animals and other small kids
4. Start to lie a lot about obvious
5. No control of actions - mostly hyperactive
6. Poor peer relationships
7. Always into some nonsense questions & chatter
8. Abnormal speech patterns
9. False allegations of abuse
10. Parents appear hostile and angry

Cure for RAD

Well, there is no drug or magical cure for RAD. Since this illness is an acquired disorder which onsets at the very crucial phase of brain development, nothing can actually alleviate the symptoms of the disorder. Child with RAD generally has other psychological problems which can be helped and cured for. These co-morbid conditions should be treated first to ensure speedy recovery of the individual. Typical conditions which can be present along with RAD are mood disorder, anxiety disorders, learning disorders, etc.

There are some therapies which can help the child to recover. Some of them includes:

  1. Behavioral therapy
  2. Parent training
  3. Individual psychotherapy
  4. Family therapy

What you can do now to help your Reactive Attachment child?

1. You need to set limits and boundaries for them and these should be in everything in their life. These boundaries should be consistent and predictive which give child more confidece and control.
2. Stay calm and composed. Bring so, can help your child to slowly recover from the tantrums and abusive behaviour.
3. If you have a conflict with the child, reconnect with him immediately. Wait for the child to be ready to reconnect and then do it as soon as possible. This helps in developing your trust with your child.
4. Set example and own up your mistakes in front of children. You need to repair them as well which will help kids to learn this best behaviour from you.
5. Have a set routine and schedule for your child, which gives children a sense of comfort and well being.

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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