Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Reactive Attachment Disorder Information Post

Through my blog I have met many people who are parenting children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder. Many times these parents have just learned about RAD and are looking for trustworthy information. RAD has already taken so much from their lives and family that they are desperate for help now and do not wish to take the time to wade through RAD information that may not be correct. These folks usually want the basic information so I chose to write this post in hopes that it will assist a mom or dad who is feeling beaten down from RAD and doesn't have enough energy to do his/her own research. 
   I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to share the thing's I have learned (and am still learning!) over the years. Helping others somehow assuages the pain RAD has brought into our lives.

Signs & Symptoms of 

Reactive Attachment Disorder

 in Children & Adults

Symptoms of RAD in Children
  • Superficially charming and engaging, particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate
  • Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on parent?s terms
  • Problems making eye contact, except when angry or lying
  • A severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as the child gets older
  • Hypervigilant
  • Hyperactive, yet lazy in performing tasks
  • Argumentative, often over silly or insignificant things
  • Frequent tantrums or rage, often over trivial issues
    Demanding or clingy, often at inappropriate times
  • Trouble understanding cause and effect
  • Poor impulse control
  • Lacks morals, values, and spiritual faith
  • Little or no empathy; often have not developed a conscience
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Lying for no apparent reason
  • False allegations of abuse
  • Destructive to property or self
  • Stealing
  • Constant chatter; nonsense questions
  • Abnormal speech patterns; uninterested in learning communication skills
  • Developmental / Learning delays
  • Fascination with fire, blood and gore, weapons, evil; will usually make the bad choice
  • Problems with food; either hoarding it or refusing to eat
  • Concerned with details, but ignoring the main issues
  • Few or no long term friends; tend to be loners
  • Attitude of entitlement and self-importance
  • Sneaks things without permission even if he could have had them by asking
  • Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other
  • A darkness behind the eyes when raging

Symptoms of RAD in Adults
  • Avoidant
    • Unreasonable or inappropriate anger
    • Hostile
    • Overcritical of others and self
    • Intolerant of rules and authority
    • Lack of empathy or remorse
    • Views others as untrustworthy and unreliable
    • Shallow/Vain
    • Feelings of self-importance
    • Feelings of entitlement or arrogance
    • Self-reliance; prefers to work alone than with others
    • Views relationships as threatening, or not worth the effort
    • May be a workaholic, as a way of avoiding relationships
    • Feelings of being unique
    • Grandiose or unrealistic fantasies
  • Anxious/Ambivalent
    • Compulsive caregiving
    • Feels underappreciated
    • Many short-term relationships
    • Idealizes others
    • Possessive; makes unrealistic demands of partners in relationships
    • Preoccupied with relationships, and easily makes declarations of affection
    • Obtains feelings of security through relationships
    • Sees relationships as imbalanced
    • Oversensitive to rejection, easily gives in to jealousy
    • Sees others as being difficult to understand
    • Unable to understand the concept of altruism
      Extreme emotions
  • May Also Include
    • Prone to depression
    • Socially inappropriate behavior
    • Impulsive
    • Manipulative
    • Risk-taking
    • Self-mutilating behavior
    • Often do not remember much of childhood experiences
    • Darkness behind the eyes when angered
    • At risk of abusing their own children
    • Children with RAD may become adults diagnosed with sociopathic, narcissistic, antisocial, or borderline personality disorder
The Primary Caregiver 

. will appear hostile

.be easily moved to tears

.seclude him/herself from others

.react negatively to your efforts to help

.be very fatigued


Reactive Attachment Disorder Resources:


- bottle feed the child even if he is no longer a preschooler. Bottle feeding is an intimate act between mother and child. It helps cement the fact that mom will supply my needs into the child's brain and it will help mom bond with a difficult child.

- rock the child, all children need to be rocked. If the child missed out on this as an infant, fulfill that need now.

- pop sweets into your child's mouth as you rock him

- mom must respond to the child's needs, or dad if he is the primary caregiver. If the child needs or wants something he will only get it from mom. If you have an infant, only mom feeds the baby.

- mom is always the one who comforts the child

- keep your child by your side. 

- continually reassure your child that he/she is safe

- empathize with your child. Say things like, "If I were a little boy/girl, I would have been very frightened if _______________ would have happened. I wonder if that is how you felt?"

- give lots of hugs, strive for 12 every day

- find one thing to praise your child for every day. Sometimes this can be almost impossible so you might have to say things like, "Good walking!" 

- fill a bag with nonperishable snack's and allow your child to eat them whenever he chooses. 

- pray daily, hourly and even moment by moment

- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. If you do not take care of yourself you will burn out and be unable to help anyone. Find a good therapist or mentor who can speak into your life when things seem impossible.

- Find a respite provider whom you trust to care for your child

Your child will need an experienced attachment therapist. When looking for a therapist, be sure the therapist not only understands RAD but has experience working with attachment disorders. A good therapist will always allow the parent to be in the room during therapy sessions with the child. He/she will realize the child has to bond with the parent, not the therapist.

Always honor the threat. If your child threatens you or your family, take them seriously. A child with RAD is often successful when carrying out threats

*I will probably periodically update this page so if you have any tips, advice or resources please let me know. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

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