Let us learn about the Reactive Attachment Disorder

July 19, 2011

A complex psychiatric illness characterized by numerous problems in emotional attachments with others is referred as a Reactive Attachment Disorder. Most of the young children are affected with RAD. The symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder can be identified from a very young age starting from 12 months to 5 years. In most of the cases it is seen that parents are concerned about their child and bring them to the doctors due to the following reasons:

  • If the child fails to gain weight
  • Hesitates to socially interact
  • Exhibits a defiant behavior
  • Has a severe or colic difficulty in feeding
  • Connects very closely with the strangers
  • The child finds it difficult to respond and cannot be comforted easily.

The existence of RAD may be quite evident due to physical, emotional and social problems the child tends to exhibits as the child grows.

It is seen that children with RAD find it extremely difficult to manage their relationship as many children are the ones who are either physically or mentally abused and neglected.  Some children never get the desired care they need as they reside in an orphanage, foster care or some residential program. Some children may have traumatic losses too.

Psychiatric assessment and individualized assessment plans are the best means to help the children exhibiting Reactive Attachment Disorder. There have to be comprehensive evaluations before labeling the child with the disorder.

The treatment associated with the complex disorder requires strengthening the relation of the child with the parents or the primary care givers. If the child is deprived of the treatment then the child is likely to refrain from social interactions and emotional involvements

A few Do’s for the parents of the child with a Reactive Attachment Disorder:

  • Prior to initiating a treatment a comprehensive psychiatric evaluations of the child has to be done by a qualified mental health professional. It is the duty of the parents to seek help as and when needed.
  • The risks and the potential benefits of the intervention have to be understood by the parents at the first instance.
  • If the parents have some concerns or doubt about a particular treatment or diagnosis, there is no harm in opting for a second opinion.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a rare disorder and a serious clinical condition. The treatment involved is also complex and requires an ongoing collaboration with the child’s family for a positive outcome.

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