If you are parenting or treating a child with RAD, you probably have many questions about Reactive Attachment Disorder. Can your child heal from RAD? Is there hope for your family and for your child to succeed in life?
Here are answers to commonly asked questions about Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosis, treatment, and helping a child who suffers from insufficient attachment.
What is RAD?
Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is defined as a problematic pattern of developmentally inappropriate moods, social behaviors, and relationships due to a failure in forming normal healthy attachments with primary care givers in early childhood.
A child who experiences neglect, abuse, or separation during the critical stages of development during first three years of life is at risk of developing an attachment disorder.
Children especially at risk for RAD include:
- children in orphanages (especially from overseas adoptions)
- children in foster care
- children who are abused and neglected during the first 3 years of life
- children whose primary caregiver is depressed, addicted or suffers from mental health issues
- children whose parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol
- children who have serious medical issues and hospitalizations in infancy
How Serious is Reactive Attachment Disorder and Can It Be Cured?
RAD is a diagnosis with the potential for life-long implications. While there are effective treatments for attachment disorders, they require intensive interventions and not all children respond positively.
Can RAD be cured? While it’s possible for children with RAD to heal, most will continue to have some personality and relationship issues into adulthood. It’s important for parents and caregivers to adjust expectations accordingly. We now understand that early childhood trauma has life-long, often devastating impact. The results of this are seen in the lives of children with RAD.
While RAD is serious, recognize that there is much hope. Many children who were diagnosed with RAD have gone on to live productive lives, get married, have children, and establish relationships.
Yet it’s also necessary to discuss that many of these children are not able to maintain life in typical homes and communities and this is not the fault of the parents.
Attachment issues fall on a spectrum, from mild problems that can be addressed and treated with great success to the most serious form, which is children with RAD who do not have a conscious.
In the worst cases of attachment disorder, these children can be dangerous. They require constant supervision or placement in a locked residential facility where they can be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Children who do not heal from RAD may grow into adults who do not have a conscience and go on to have critical personality disorders in adulthood.
The earlier in a child’s life that attachment therapy is started, the more likely it is to be successful.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)
While RAD is a relatively rare diagnosis, it is one that impacts the children who have it, parents, caregivers, and those in the community. Children with RAD are not able to form attachments with others and so develop problematic behaviors as a way of coping with what they perceive as the scary world around them.
Residential Treatment for RAD
The goal is always for children with attachment issues to remain in the home environment. Healing happens within families, and in order for a child to learn to attach, he needs to be with his or her family.
Still, there are times when for the safety of the child or family, residential treatment is necessary. Click here for a complete list of treatment centers that specialize in RAD and attachment disorders.
With the answers to frequently asked questions about RAD, you have a clear picture of how to find treatment, therapy and provide support to a child with attachment issues.
Do you have another question about RAD that wasn’t covered in this article? Share it in the comments below and we will add the information to a future post.