Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adults | 2022

Reactive attachment disorder in adults

In this post, you will be provided detailed information about Reactive Attachment disorder in adults by Daily Human Care. So, let’s start.

Attachment disorder:

Attachment disorder is a broad term used to describe a set of emotional and behavioural issues that young children who are struggling to form expected relationships with primary caregivers, usually their parents, may develop. At an early age, most children develop secure emotional attachments to their caregivers. When their caregiver is missing, they display healthy anxiety, and when they’re reunited, they show relief.
However, some children experience attachment problems while their parents are not violent. Attachment disorders are treatable, but it is necessary to intervene early. Children with attachment issues may encounter persistent difficulties throughout their lives without treatment.
Signs that there could be an attachment problem in a child include:

  • Bullying people or hurting them
  • Ultimate clinginess
  • Inability to smile
  • Intense bursts of resentment
  • Lack of touch with the eye
  • Lack of anxiety about strangers
  • Lack of caregiver love
  • Oppositional views
  • Poor regulation of impulses


Nobody knows exactly why some kids experience attachment problems, while others do not live in the same environment. However, researchers conclude that there is a link between attachment disorders and substantial neglect or deprivation, frequent shifts in primary caretakers, or rearing in institutional environments.

Any other potential risk factors for disorders of attachment include:

  • Misuse (physical, emotional, or sexual)
  • Caregivers with low parenting credentials
  • Parental frustration problems
  • Parental incompetence
  • Parents who have medical problems
  • Prenatal alcohol or opioid use

Reactive attachment disorder in adults:

Reactive attachment disorder in adults

Have you ever met a person who seems to lack any motivation or ability to interact with others? Was it a child who appeared unconcerned about the absence of people or caregivers who were familiar? Maybe you know an adult with a history of troubling relationships who tends to prefer to be alone rather than with others. There are occasions when a lack of capacity to communicate with others or establish healthy relationships may signify the existence of a mental health disorder, although some people naturally prefer to be alone.

A disorder that is usually seen in babies and children is reactive attachment disorder (RAD). If a child is unable to form a stable bond with a caregiver, mostly because of unmet physical or emotional needs, it is assumed to develop during infancy and early childhood. In infancy, bonds of attachment to caregivers begin and typically extend as the child learns to develop emotional relations with other members of the family, such as grandparents or siblings. If a child does not perceive it, however,

While RAD is found more commonly in children under five years of age, if left untreated, it may continue through adolescence and even adulthood. Luckily, in both children and adults, reactive attachment disorder may be treated. As soon as signs are noticed and a diagnosis is confirmed, the medication should be introduced.

The criteria for diagnosing someone with a reactive attachment disorder in adults includes, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V):

  • The occurrence of continuous social and emotional disruption
  • A persistent pattern of emotionally withdrawn, inhibited behaviour towards adult caregivers
  • A trend of extremes of inadequate care
  • The infant has a minimum developmental age of 9 months.
  • The condition is apparent before the age of 5 years.
  • The autism spectrum disorder criteria are not met,

Symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adults

If the child is not treated or if the treatment has not been 100 per cent successful, RAD will proceed into adulthood. The effects of RAD in adults can be important and can interfere with the ability of the person to experience relationships completely, have a healthy sense of self and the mental health of the individual. Here are some examples of an adult getting RAD:

  • From detachment
  • Withdrawal from ties
  • Inability to sustain important, romantic or platonic relationships
  • Inability to display love
  • Resistance against receiving
  • Impulsiveness
  • Mistrustful
  • Inability to fully comprehend feelings
  • Feelings of vacuity
  • Inadequate sense of belonging

Types of Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adults and Their Symptoms

Usually, the signs of reactive attachment disorder are split into two sub-categories: avoidant attachment disorder (inhibited) and ambivalent attachment disorder (dis-inhibited). Avoidant attachment disorder is characterized by a desire for a high degree of autonomy and freedom.  Even if a person with avoidant RAD needs assistance, they may think that they are not vulnerable to feelings commonly associated with attachment to others, may reject the need for close personal relationships with others and may even consider relationships as entirely unimportant.

  • Symptoms of reactive attachment disorder that is avoidant include:
  • Compulsive dependence on oneself
  • Preference to work or play by yourself
  • The tendency to judge people excessively
  • Blame over-sensitivity
  • Criticism of self
  • Lack of confidence in the notion of a genuinely intimate relationship
  • The belief they’re unlovable
  • Intimacy Avoidance

During early childhood, ambivalent reactive attachment disorder results from dysfunctional attachments commonly associated with erratic or chaotic home life. Children who are not nurtured and who do not learn how to respond to others or circumstances properly may detach themselves from their feelings and cease to form any kind of emotional connection.

Ambivalent reactive attachment disorder signs include: During early childhood, ambivalent reactive attachment disorder results from dysfunctional attachments commonly associated with erratic or chaotic home life. Children who are not nurtured and who do not learn how to respond to others or circumstances properly may detach themselves from their feelings and cease to form any kind of emotional connection.

Ambivalent reactive attachment disorder in adults signs include:

  • A tendency for others to be idealized
  • Difficulty establishing or sustaining stable or long-term relationships
  • Over-dependence in experiences
  • Depression and Depression
  • Possessives
  • Feeling unlovable or unwanted by others

RAD and Adult Relationships

In adults, reactive attachment disorder can be essential and can contribute to any area of one’s life that includes a relationship with others. Whether it’s professional coworker relationships, platonic best friend relationships, or romantic relationships with an intimate partner, Reactive Attachment Disorder in adults allows adult people to have the inability to experience relationships fully because they do not have a healthy sense of themselves. Furthermore, it could compromise their overall mental health. As a result, they also have unstable feelings, emotions and actions that can contribute to their contact with others. In relationships with others, individuals with RAD will also fail because of the following:

  • they have no emotional investment,
  • They are unable to express their emotions with others
  • Physical intimacy is avoided.
  • Empathy is lacking in them

Of course, not every RAD adult takes these behavioural traits into relationships, but these personality attributes can be damaging to one’s professional and personal development for many. Adults with reactive attachment disorder can also feel the need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, which may turn into addiction in a downward spiral, causing further chaos in their lives.

Also have a look at, Celebrities with personality disorders.

Treating Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adulthood

In adults, reactive attachment disorder is extremely real and in children, it looks more like RAD. Luckily, with the correct kind of counselling and care, RAD in adults is highly treatable. Treatment for RAD and drug use disorder is normal and it is necessary to obtain assistance for both concurrently if these co-occurring conditions exist, as one disorder may feed the other. If you believe that you or someone you know has Reactive Attachment Disorder, let them know that there is hope and that there is a solution for a happier, more fulfilling existence.

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