Everyone in this world is born to a mother and father and if the appropriate bonding takes place, an attachment is formed. Attachment is the deep connection established between a child and their primary caregiver. This attachment contributes to a child’s ability to develop and build healthy, meaningful relationships. If there is a disruption in this attachment process and the primary caregiver senses a struggle to connect, then the they child may in fact have an attachment disorder such as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
What is reactive attachment disorder (RAD)?
Reactive attachment disorder is a condition in which a child struggles to establish healthy attachment with their parent or primary caretaker. This can lead to extreme difficulty connecting with others and emotional expression, resulting in a number of insecurities and trust issues. Many children with RAD have a fear of getting close to anyone. They have bouts of anger and often need to control every situation they are in because they feel alone.
The sad fact is that children with RAD have experienced such a disruptive childhood that it impacts all of their relationships in the future. They may experience difficulty connecting to others and often struggle while in school and many have severe developmental delays. RAD is common amongst children who come from extremely difficult circumstances such as abuse, foster care, orphanages, or removal from a primary caregiver after a bond has been established.
Attachment disorders have a high rate of success of repair if they are able to receive proper treatment. Even in the most extreme attachment cases, the connection can be reestablished. Patience is required from all parties involved. Therapists usually recommend psychotherapy techniques to help children deal with their attachment issues.
Attachment disorder causes
Once a child is put in a circumstance that disrupts the natural bonding process, RAD and other attachment disorders can occur. While there can be several reasons this can occur, here are a few reasons:
- A child experiences abuse (can be mental, emotional, or physical)
- Basic needs are not met, this can be the result of parental neglect
- Hospitalization, isolation, or separation from parents
- Disruption in stability or frequent bouncing around (this applies to children in foster care)
- Emotionally unavailable primary caregiver because of illness or substance abuse.
- No comfort when child is in distress
- No social interaction for extended periods of time. Even infants require interaction to form healthy attachments
- Receives attention by utilizing unhealthy or extreme behaviors
RAD causes may not be avoidable depending on the circumstances. Children have difficulty expressing or explaining complex emotions that may have been brought on by trauma. Their ability to find someone to trust is damaged and therefore they detach to protect themselves.
Attachment issues can be treated at any time, although the earlier it is treated, the better. An individual I is more likely to experience positive results if they receive the treatment they early enough. Regardless, attachment disorders are highly correctable although not highly avoidable. Get help if you or someone you know is need of RAD therapy for a loved one.