What Is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

By becky
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Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a serious psychological condition that results in a child’s inability to form emotional attachments with caregivers and others. RAD develops in infants and children age 5 and younger, as this is the time when emotional bonds are established between the child and the caregivers.

RAD is most often associated with children who are neglected or abused during the early stages of life. These children frequently exhibit maladaptive behaviors. Appropriate treatment measures can improve a child’s ability to form healthy and stable relationships.

1. Causes

Infants begin developing emotional bonds from the very beginning of their lives, but doing so requires a stable and emotionally secure environment. When an infant’s physical and emotional needs are not met, it can result in feelings of insecurity, abandonment and loneliness. Infants who are ignored or who do not receive loving care may not develop the trust that is necessary in healthy relationships.

The trauma and stress from maltreatment and neglect cause some infants and young children to withdraw and become fearful of their caregivers. They cease to expect affection or care. This can cause long-term behavioral and emotional issues. However, not every child in abusive or neglectful situations develops RAD and some children in current, apparently loving environments do develop the condition.

Reactive Attachement Disorder

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