Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a condition that occurs when infants and young children do not establish healthy, loving bonds with caregivers. Many children diagnosed have experienced extreme neglect, trauma, or abuse. Reactive attachment disorder may develop if the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met.
A child with RAD rarely seeks or responds to comfort when distressed, shows limited positive affect, and has episodes of irritability, sadness or fearfulness in relation to caregivers. Children who have experienced trauma during the critical developmental ages tend to act much younger than their chronological ages and are also often unable to trust others and attach in relationships. The impact of RAD on a family can be devastating and painful with profound amounts of stress placed on caregivers, parental relationships/marriages, and other children in the family.
There is hope and BHSA is here to help families find it. With treatment, children with reactive attachment disorder can develop healthier relationships with caregivers and others and families can be equipped with the skills necessary to care for these children.
Symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder
Consider contacting BHSA for an evaluation if your child shows any of the following signs.
- Sad and listless appearance
- Unexplained episodes of irritability or anger
- No desire for comfort or comforting has little or no affect
- Unwillingness to smile
- Failing to engage in social interaction
- Failing to ask for support or assistance
- Failure to reach out when picked up
- No interest in playing peekaboo or other interactive games
BHSA Therapists Can Help
Treatment for reactive attachment disorder usually involves both the child and current caregivers. Treatment often requires a multi-faceted approach and may include psychotherapy for the child, family therapy, parenting training, and special education services as well as other techniques. Because RAD can be a painful and confusing experience for caregivers, counseling may be necessary for parents, also.
If your family is dealing with reactive attachment disorder, don’t suffer any longer and don’t feel like you are on your own. Treatment is available and we're here to help. Call 501-954-7470 to request an appointment with one of our professional therapists.