Reactive Attachment Disorder Symptoms

Reactive attachment disorder, or RAD is a mental illness that affects children and can carry through into adulthood if it is not understood and solved. The characteristics of attachment disorder in children can easily be seen and taken care of.

By understanding what attachment disorder is and how it affects your child, you will be able to help them feel more secure about their familial relationships, as well as help them overcome their inner awareness problems with feeling secure and comforted.

There are two major types of reactive attachment disorders that effect children of all ages. This includes an inhibited and uninhibited disorder type.

Both of these types of attachment disorders act out in different ways, but both cause problems with forming relationships among others. Depending on the situation in which your child was put in when they are young, they will form one of these disorders and act out in different ways when this disorder is triggered.


Reactive attachment disorder begins when one is unable to form healthy relationships in a social setting. This problem will range in severity as well as in age. This disorder is based off of early childhood experiences that involved a trauma, including neglect, abuse, or abandonment.

If an infant or child is put in a situation where they do not feel secure and are not taken care of right away, then it is likely that they will form a defense mechanism to respond with. Usually, this defense involves the child or teen developing a feeling that the world is unsafe. This causes the child to be unable to form healthy relationships with those around them, especially with primary caregivers.

Friendships Missing

The first thing that you will notice with attachment disorders is that the person who has it is unable to form loving relationships with people. This causes several social development skills that are lacking in the child or teen. You will notice that your child may not have friendships at school and does not interact with others well. If they are at a young age and are experiencing this, than it is a sign of attachment disorder.

Overly Sociable

On the other side, they may be more sociable than normal. They will not be able to distinguish between what is unsafe and safe with social situations.

Because of this, they will seek attention from any and all that are around them. They will often find strangers to find comfort from as they desire the love and affection that they did not feel like they received when they were young.

Moral Values

Another sign that a child may have attachment disorder is in the values and morals that they attach to. Often times, these children will lie, steal and be cruel to animals and people.

Because they have a constant feeling of not feeling secure, they will try to normalize their behavior and balance out this feeling by making themselves secure and protected through caring out certain morals.

Two Sides

One of the major signs to look for in children is how they treat others around them. Often times, those with attachment disorder will be friendly and non-discriminatory with those at school or in social relations.

However, as soon as you take them home, temper tantrums, destruction and a lack of affection towards family members will begin to dominate. This is a large sign that the child is feeling insecure about their environment and has attachment disorder as a result.

If attachment disorder is not noticed in your child or teen, it can lead to more destructive behaviors and role reversals. The child may not be able to function at a societal level later on if this treatment isn’t solved.

It will begin to act out later in life through career as well as social relationships. It will be difficult for the person who has attachment disorder to be able to form secure and long-lasting relationships. Often times, this disorder can become physically destructive towards another person as well.

It is important to recognize attachment disorder in a child if you believe that they have it. If you don’t, it will cause destructive habits to form. It may also cause severe problems with social relationships, as well as familial relationships. By understanding attachment disorder, you can help your child to overcome the feelings of insecurity that dominate from their early childhood experience.