Reactive Attachment Disorder

On this occasion we will talk about a disorder that can be generated if traumatic ruptures have occurred in the mother-child emotional bond in very early stages.

What is reactive attachment disorder?

On this occasion we will talk about a disorder that can be generated if there have been traumatic breakups in the mother-child emotional bond in very early stages. The bond that is created during the first months of the child’s life with his/her maternal caregiver is extremely important and not having stable relationships in this sense can lead to problems and disorders such as the one described below.

What is reactive attachment disorder like?

However, it should be noted that a clearly pathological upbringingdoes not always determine the development of a reactive attachment disorder since many children establish social relationships and stable bonds even in situations of abandonment or clear abuse.

1. Causes

The causes of the breaking the bond between the mother and the child there can be several: abandonment, abuse, separations, children admitted to shelters and later adopted, mothers with mental disorders, etc. Some of the children who go through these situations, having not established a stable relationship with the mother or the person who acts as their mother, although they later receive the love, attention and care of the family (natural or adoptive), are unable to accept it as a result of the damage previously suffered.

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2. Symptoms

There is variety of symptoms that may indicate the presence of this disorder and that can be classified from mild to severe, being directly related to the trauma that caused it. Some of those that can be presented are the following:

  • Difficulty accepting or seeking affection and physical contact
  • Need to be in control
  • Disruptive behaviors
  • Mutual trust issues
  • Extreme withdrawal
  • Hyperactivity and impulsivity
  • attention deficit

It should be noted that the majority of children who present alterations in the emotional bond They tend to constantly test their parents’ love and the bonds they have in common. What is most striking is that they do it through a subtle process of demands, manipulations, lies, and even using aggressive and violent behavior against the people they love. They constantly need to reaffirm the physical presence and proximity of their parents even if it means getting scolded. Other children constantly complain of headaches or other supposed illnesses to get their mother’s attention.

What is reactive attachment disorder?

Types of Reactive Attachment Disorders

Furthermore, in this type of disorder two types of reactive attachment disorder can be distinguished depending on the predominance of one type of symptoms or others:

1. Inhibited type

The dominant alteration of the social relationship resides in the persistent disability to initiate most social relationships and respond to them in a manner appropriate to the subject’s level of development.

2. Uninhibited type

The dominant alteration of the social relationship consists of a indiscriminate sociability or an absence of selectivity in the choice of linkage figures.

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Treatment of reactive attachment disorder

He treatment In these cases it will depend on the current circumstances and the history of the child himself. The ideal would be to start by modifying environmental situations that generate and maintain the problem, but this is not always possible since abandonment, loss of parents, etc. may have occurred. In this case, the work must be carried out with the current reference adults and the child himself/herself.

In cases where it is possible conduct a family intervention Because the bonding problems have been due to causes such as adoption, chronic illness of the mother, etc., this will be the most appropriate modality, which does not mean that in parallel you cannot and/or should work with the child. separately. In most cases, one of the main goals of intervention will be to provide information and understanding to the child’s parents or guardians about the problem.