So what is Rad

Symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder

"Believe, when you are most unhappy,
that there is something for you to do in
this world.  So long as you can sweeten
another's pain, life is not in vain."  
Helen Keller


Attachment is the result of the bonding process that occurs between a child and caregiver during the first couple years of the child's life. The first year of life is the year of needs. The infant's primary needs are touch, eye contact, movement, smiles, and nourishment. When the infant has a need, he or she expresses the need through crying. Ideally, the caretaker is able to recognize and satisfy the need. Through this interaction, which occurs hundreds of thousands of times in a year, the child learns that the world is a safe place and trust develops. In addition, emotional connection forms, the child feels empowered in his or her environment, and develops a secure base from which the child can confidently and effectively explore the world. Attachment is reciprocal, the baby and caregiver create this deep, nurturing connection together: It takes two to connect. It is imperative for optimal brain development and emotional health, and its effects are felt physiologically, emotionally, cognitively and socially.

      When this initial attachment is lacking, children lack the ability to form and maintain loving, intimate relationships. They grow up with an impaired ability to trust that the world is a safe place and that others will take good care of them. Without this sense of trust, children believes that they must be hyper-vigilant about their own safety. Unfortunately, their idea about safety prevents them from allowing others to take care of them in a loving, nurturing manner. They become extremely demanding and controlling in response to their fear. Emotionally they believe that if they do not control their world then they will die.

      Children without proper care in the first few years of life have an unusually high level of stress hormones, which adversely effect the way crucial aspects of the brain and body develop. Conscience development is dependent upon brain development and follows attachment. Therefore, these children lack pro-social values and morality as well as demonstrating aggressive, disruptive and antisocial behaviors.

These children have learned at a preverbal stage that the world is a scary and distrustful place. This lesson has taken place at a biochemical level in the brain. For this reason, these children do not respond well to traditional therapy or parenting since both rely on the child's ability to form relationships that require trust and respect. These children have Reactive Attachment Disorder, and it requires a different type of therapy to address these early attachment difficulties.

 Evergreen Consultants in Human Behavior