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Reactive Attachment Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Attachment Disorder Diagnosis, Childhood Disorder Diagnosis, Disinhibited Attachment Disorder Diagnosis, Abnormal Emotional Attachment Diagnosis, Inhibited Attachment Disorder Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Reactive Attachment Disorder Diagnosed?

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry advocates for a more individualized treatment plan and comprehensive assessment for children suspected to have with reactive attachment disorder. This is due to the fact that the symptoms often manifested with the disorder can also be found in other psychiatric disorders. The assessment of the condition will require evidence that should be obtained based on observations of the child’s interaction with their primary caregivers, as well as history of the pattern of attachment behavior of the child with strangers and the child’s early care giving environment.

The evaluation of the child with reactive attachment disorder includes the following: 6

  • The behavior pattern of the child.
  • The ability and parenting/caregiver style.
  • The living situation and home of the child.
  • The relation of the child with parents and others.
  • Examples of behavior in variety of situations.

In order to be diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder the child must meet the following diagnostic criteria set forth by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder Fourth Edition (DSM-IV):

  • Failure to respond to or to initiate social interactions.
  • Inappropriately being friendly and familiar with strangers.
  • Disturbed and developmentally inappropriate social relationships before the age of 5.
  • Failure to meet the child’s emotional need for attention and comfort during the early care, as well as failure to meet the physical needs of the child.
  • There is a repeated change in the primary caregiver.

Both the inhibited and disinhibited types of reactive attachment disorder have similarities that include the following characteristics as recognized by the DSM-IV-TR:

  • The disturbance is not accounted for by developmental delay and does not meet the criteria for pervasive developmental disorder.
  • There is a marked disturbance and inappropriate development of social relatedness in most contexts.
  • The onset is before five years old.
  • There is an implicit lack of identifiable and preferred attachment figure.
  • History of significant neglect.

Could You Have Reactive Attachment Disorder?

Reactive Attachment Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Antisocial Personality Disorder - Deceitful, Manipulative, Sociopath, Psychopaths
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Impulsiveness, Hyperactivity, Inattention
Autism – Impaired Social Interaction, Restricted Behavior, Less attachment Security, Social Deviance
Mental Retardation – Idiot, Imbecile, Moron, Memory Deficit, Difficulty in Social Skills and Problem Solving, Delayed Language Development
Oppositional Defiant Disorder – Defiant, Hostile, Disobedient, Conduct Disorder
Selective Mutism – Inability to Express Oneself in Words, Normal Speech but Unable to Speak
Separation Anxiety Disorder – Excessive Anxiety from Being Separated from People with Strong Attachment, Persistent Worry, Recurring Distress
Social Anxiety Disorder – Anxiety, Social Phobia, Phobia, Impaired Socialization, Excessive Worry, Distressed Behavior