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Reactive Attachment Disorder

Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), often get diagnosed with several disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, anger managment issues, ADD/ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, or PTSD) before an accurate diagnosis is made. Many children with RAD are seen as having ADD/ADHD by the school system. While the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and RAD may look similar, they are totally different mental health issues requiring different types of treatment. ADD/ADHD tends to have a genetic component to it, while RAD is developed in response to extreme abuse and/or neglect.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a severe form of trauma. I believe that RAD is the basis of several disorders (e.g., oppositional-defiant disorder, conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder). As the adoptive parent of a child with RAD, I understand the effects that RAD can have on an individual and the family if left untreated. As a play therapist, I believe parents need support, encouragement, and concrete behavioral management strategies in managing their children. Children need support and encouragement, as well, during the treatment process.

Symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder

  • Aversion to touch, affection, or comforting
  • Anger problems
  • Control issues
  • Underdeveloped conscience
  • Not seeking comfort
  • Failure to ask for help
  • Sad and listless appearance