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Reactive Attachment Disorder

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

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a rare psychiatric illness affecting children who experience a serious emotional attachment to others.1 This form of attachment disorder in children is an uncommon condition that involves a developmentally inappropriate way for children to socially relate with others. Reactive Attachment Disorder can be manifested as inhibited attachment disorder, where the child has a persistent failure to respond to social interactions in a more developmentally appropriate way, or it may also be a disinhibited attachment disorder in the form of indiscriminate sociability or excessive familiarity with relative strangers. The inhibited form is recognized by DSM-IV as the Reactive Attachment Disorder while the disinhibited form is known to be disinhibited attachment disorder.2

The child with Reactive Attachment Disorder usually experiences associated emotional, social and physical problems that may continue to persist as the child grows. This abnormal attachment behavior seen in children with Reactive Attachment Disorder may be due to negligent care that leads to the failure of the child’s healthy emotional attachment to their mothers or primary caregivers, which is usually before the age of 5. The absence of emotional warmth in the child’s life can be a triggering factor for Reactive Attachment Disorder to occur. It is likely that Reactive Attachment Disorder is considered a rare mental condition in children primarily because most families fail to recognize the Reactive Attachment Disorder, and do not seek treatment.

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