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Reactive Attachment Disorder - Symptoms, Treatment and More

18 September, 2020 Riya Vaja

As we grow up, many things change. The way we eat, our sleeping habits, our appearance, our likes, dislikes, and numerous more. But what remains constant is the unconditional love of our parents. The attachment we share with them is something so true and undeniable that we don't need anyone else if we have them.

But what if you don't feel that attachment? What if you don't feel the same with your parents? Are you emotionally attached to your parents? If yes, well and good, but if no, then you might be facing reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Let me explain this. In most cases, children from an emotional undying bond with their parents right from birth, but in rare cases, they don't. It can be a serious condition whereby an infant or a young child isn't able to establish healthy connections with their primary caregivers.

What causes Reactive Attachment Disorder?

It is natural for children or in fact, anyone, to feel disconnected from their parents if they highly neglect, abandon, or leave them when they need their care the most. A child is very new to this world and may not know how everything functions, how the brain works, how to feel happiness, and deal with the pain. It is a parent's responsibility to guide their children towards living a fulfilling life. To sum up all the possible causes for this disorder, here is a list: 

  • No response to a baby's cry for long hours
  • A baby who is not fed frequently (breastfeeding or solid foods)
  • A baby whose diapers and other essential needs are not taken care of
  • Nobody tries to interact or play with the baby for hours
  • If a baby is given care from multiple caretakers  
  • A young child who only gains the attention of their parents by doing something disruptive
  • Inconsistency in love
  • Physically, mentally and verbally abusing or mistreating the child
  • Separation of the child from the parents at an early age
  • If the mother has a post-partum depression

In this busy money-minded world, sometimes parents lack the essential attributes in raising children that can cause reactive attachment disorder

What are the risk factors?

Several risk factors can affect a child's behavior towards his/her parents like poverty and institutional care. Moreover, the parent's personal mindset towards life also influences their behavior pattern with their kids. If they have anger issues or other mental illnesses, it can deeply affect their children's growth and attachment.

Signs & Symptoms

According to 3MEDS, the best healthcare provider in India, every child is unique in his/her own way, and therefore the symptoms of reactive attachment disorder may also vary in different children. The earlier you spot the signs, the better you can deal and pull out their insecurities. Some common signs of RAD may include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • destructive
  • Unexplained withdrawal
  • Irresponsible
  • The tendency to steal and lie
  • Self-abuse
  • Drug or alcohol abuse  

Emotional symptoms:

  • Fear and sadness
  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Moody
  • Persistent anger
  • Inappropriate affection towards strangers
  • Unhappy

Moral symptoms:

Lack of faith, Compassion, Empathy, and Sympathy.

Other symptoms may include developing negative beliefs about oneself and life, disconnecting from the outside world, inappropriate emotional reactions, inattention, and challenges with learning, unable to smile, and ask for support.

How is Reactive Attachment Disorder Treated?

Reactive attachment disorder is a rare serious childhood disorder. Children with RAD are not medically ill in most cases and therefore do not require any specific medical treatments. However, the focus is on the caregiver. They need to initiate the treatment. The consistency in providing the child with enough care and support is key for their cure.

Teaching parents important parenting skills can also help improve their relationship with their children. Several behavioral therapies can be opted for if your child is not ready to compromise and start a treatment that includes you. Take help from specialists and childcare psychologists who may assist you towards a better relationship with your children.


A baby needs emotional and physical nurture when they are brought to life. If you are a parent reading this, give your child all the happiness in the world. They might not want fancy items of clothing and expensive toys, your love is what matters to them. Be consistent and help them build a strong and loving foundation to live their entire life successfully.

Reactive attachment disorder is nothing but a medical term given to the carelessness of parents in raising their children. The lack of effort and willingness to give out love to their babies is what causes RAD. Take care of their health, ensure they get proper treatments if sick, and cure them with love and affection. Rely on safe medicines from the best medicine ordering app in India for your child. I hope this article helped you. Sending lots of love and positivity!