Is Reactive Attachment Disorder In Adults Real?

In recent decades, researchers have learned much about reactive attachment disorder (RAD) in children. But is reactive attachment disorder in adults real? The answer is absolutely yes. This is a clinical diagnosis that affects children and adults. Statistics indicate that RAD is a disorder that can be present in people of any age from infancy to adulthood. The DSM-V states the criteria for RAD, stressing that the symptoms must be present before the age of five. The good news is RAD can be cured in both children and adults. If not, it can last a lifetime, which is why it's important to get diagnosed early so treatment can be effective.

Reactive Attachment Disorder Happens to Survivors of Trauma. There is hope!
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What Exactly Is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

Reactive Attachment Disorder is the result of a child not forming a secure attachment to a primary parent or caregiver before the age of five. The lack of an early relationship where the child's basic needs of food, shelter, warmth, and nurturing aren't being met causes the child not to be able to form caring, loving relationships with others.

How Can You Evaluate Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adults or Children?

There is no definitive test for RAD, but clinicians have some good diagnostic tools at their disposal. The DSM-V criteria describe the types of symptoms that are common in people of all ages with RAD. A thorough psychiatric evaluation can tell clinicians much about whether an adult or a child has RAD. If you're still not sure if RAD is present, the qualified counselors at are available and are happy to give you some guidance to find out the truth.


The Connection Between RAD and ACES Too High

Many children who have RAD were victims of trauma, severe neglect, or severe abuse. The ACES Too High test reveals information about the effects of adverse childhood experiences. It's a straightforward questionnaire that scores the impact of toxic stress. The acronym ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. ACEs harm a child's brain as it develops, though the symptoms are sometimes delayed until the child is a teen or adult. The higher an individual's ACEs score, the greater risk they have for serious health problems like chronic disease, mental illness or violence.

What Does RAD Look Like in Children?

Children with RAD don't trust adults because they didn't trust adults to take care of them when they were small. They use coping mechanisms to help them feel safe which may include lying, manipulating, stealing, impulsivity, aggressive or controlling behaviors. They are charming or charismatic, which deceives others into thinking that they are being socially appropriate. In reality, children and adults with RAD may lack empathy for peers, other people, and animals and can sometimes be cruel to them.

How Does RAD Manifest in Adults?

RAD follows children into adulthood when it was not appropriately treated during childhood. Adults with RAD have trouble being genuine in friendships and romantic relationships because they have difficulty showing empathy, remorse, trust, and compassion. It causes them to deny personal responsibility and continue the lying and manipulating behaviors they learned as children. They often feel that others blame them, which causes them to feel hopeless, helpless, stressed, depressed, isolated, and angry. This disorder leads some adults to addictive behaviors including substance abuse, alcoholism, and sex addiction. Many of these behaviors may lead them into trouble with the law.

Reactive Attachment Disorder Happens to Survivors of Trauma. There is hope!
Online Counselors are Available to Help You Get Well.


Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adults is the Real Thing

Reactive Attachment Disorder in adults is extremely real and it looks much like RAD in children. Fortunately, RAD in adults is highly treatable with the right kind of therapy and treatment. If you think you or someone you know has RAD, let them know there is hope and there is a cure so they can have a happier, more satisfying life.


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