The Prevalence Of Attachment Disorder In Adults

By Nadia Khan

Updated December 07, 2018

Attachment Disorder in Adults

Attachment disorder in adults stems from unresolved attachment issues in childhood. In adulthood, a person experiences the inability or difficulties in forming secure relationships. Attachment style is one thing in psychology that does span generations. We can clearly see how the past influences the present and the future in terms of attachment style.


Categories of Insecure Attachment

Generally, there are two categories of insecure attachment. Adults can be either avoidant or anxious/ambivalent.

The avoidant adult will fear closeness in a relationship and thus have a negative view of others. He or she will view others as untrustworthy or undependable, meanwhile viewing the self as "too good" for others. Relationships for this person will be perceived as a threat to the person's sense of control and may not even seem worth engaging in.


The anxious/ambivalent adult will feel overinvolved and underappreciated. He or she is sensitive to rejection and often idealizes others. For this person, life revolves around relationships. The person will feel a preoccupation and dependence on the relationship, but see the significant other as difficult to understand. Extreme emotions, jealousy, and possessiveness are also common features.

Adults Affected

It has been postulated that approximately 50% of Americans are diagnosable with Adult Attachment Disorder (AAD). This stems from a lack of a deep emotional connection as a child that is then carried into adulthood.


It is highly interesting that this disorder can be seen in society today. While most people do not have full-blown AAD, it can be connected with the high divorce rate in America (52%) and the emotional detachment felt by those in congress. Find out more on the political connection here.

DSM-5 Involvement

Most unfortunately, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) does not recognize AAD as a disorder in and of its own. The DSM-5 does, however, recognize Radical Attachment Disorder (RAD), which affects a relatively small percentage of Americans as compared to AAD.


What this means for those with AAD is that getting treatment is much harder. This is something that many people struggle with and can get help for. However, because of a lack of "official" diagnosis in the DSM-5, many people are still struggling with AAD today.

Getting the Help You Need

If you find yourself in need of professional mental health help, there are many resources available for you. While AAD is a difficult diagnosis, there are professionals who can help you. This diagnosis is not to be taken lightly. Seek professional help to confirm a diagnosis of AAD.


As an example, BetterHelp is a company that offers pain online counseling and therapy.

This company strives to provide mental health help for those who want to avoid the stigma associated with seeking help for illnesses that cannot be readily observed. This company is also professional, affordable, and convenient. Find out more at their website.

Previous Article

Examples Of Operant Conditioning That Can Help Control OCD

Next Article

What Is Overthinking Disorder?
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Counselor Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.