Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a rare but serious mental health condition in which a child doesn't form healthy emotional bonds with their parents or caregivers. It usually starts in infancy or early childhood, and can have long-lasting effects on the child's development and relationships.
RAD is thought to be caused by a lack of nurturing and responsive care from the child's primary caregiver. This can happen in a number of ways, such as:
Emotional or physical neglect
Frequent changes in caregivers
Children with RAD may have difficulty trusting others, forming close relationships, and managing their emotions. They may also have problems with behavior and development.
Signs and symptoms of RAD in children:
Difficulty forming emotional bonds with caregivers
Avoiding or resisting contact with caregivers
Lack of response to comfort
Unexplained withdrawal, fear, sadness, or irritability
Failure to smile or engage in social interaction
If you are concerned that your child may have RAD, it is important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can assess your child's symptoms and make a diagnosis.
Treatment for RAD
The goal of treatment for RAD is to help the child form healthy emotional bonds with their caregivers and others. Treatment typically involves a combination of individual and family therapy.
Individual therapy can help the child learn about their emotions and how to manage them. It can also help the child develop coping skills and build their self-esteem.
Family therapy can help the child's caregivers learn how to meet the child's needs and respond to their emotions in a supportive way. It can also help the family to build stronger relationships.
With early intervention and treatment, most children with RAD can learn to form healthy attachments and develop normal social skills.
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