Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Attachment Disorder Treatment

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Can anyone tell me what the signs are of attachment Disorders?

Are there different signs for different age groups? eg babies/toddlers/children/teenagers/adults? If so what are the signs and what is deemed to be the best treatment?

Thanks :)


What causes Attachment Disorder?
Attachment Disorder manifests in children who have suffered some sort of chronic neglect and/or abuse in the first three years of life. While the disorder is most often associated with physical and/or sexual abuse, pervasive neglect (such as infants neglected in orphanages), maternal prenatal drug or alcohol abuse, persistent changes in caregivers or the Traumatic loss of a primary care giver, the disorder has also been linked to children of divorced parents, as well as those who have suffered chronic illness or extended hospitalization. Other factors such as genetic predisposition, the length and stage of the child’s disruption, and the inter-generational transmission of attachment issues or other psychological problems are also taken into consideration when diagnosing attachment disorder.

What does attachment disorder look like?
Attachment issues exist on a broad continuum between mild to severe. The child of an irresponsible birth mother, for example, who had limited needs met but exhibits emotional or behavior problems may have mild to moderate attachment issues. On the other hand, a child who has suffered chronic abuse or neglect and demonstrates irrational emotional, social or physical behavior, particularly towards their primary caretaker, may be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Not only do these children believe on a core level that they must avoid intimacy and stay in control as a matter of life or death (literally!), they also develop a chronic inability to regulate emotions, impulses and behavior. As a result they are often diagnosed with AD/HD, Conduct Disorder and/or Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

What are the most common symptoms of attachment disorder?
While researchers continue to identify and discern various subtypes of the disorder–all of which come with their own particular set of symptoms–the most common are excessive tantrums, poor self-regulation, manipulation, control, persistent defiance, poor cause-and-effect thinking, Depression and an inability to experience intimate bonds.
Note: We encourage you to enter our site for a more detailed list of symptoms.

How can a child heal an attachment disorder?
Sadly, love is not enough to heal a severely troubled child. Families who have sought professional help for their child’s behavior through traditional therapeutic means, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, often complain that such treatments were unsuccessful. Newer therapeutic techniques, while applying aspects of traditional approaches, involve a more proactive, experiential engagement between the child, caregiver and therapist. Additionally, a highly contained, structured environment and a punitive-free, empathic parenting style are vital to the healing process. Other tools such as neurofeedback, Emdr and medicine, which can facilitate the regulation of affect and arousal that are often dysfunctional in the neurological systems of poorly attached children, can also be used in the healing process.

Infants and toddlers
As the baby has a need and signals that need by crying, the mother (primary caregiver) comes and soothes her baby and meets his needs. If this cycle is repeated over and over again and the baby’s needs are consistently met in the proper way by the same caregiver, the baby often learns to trust. He will then be able to continue on in his development. Now, take a look at the disturbed attachment cycle:

As you compare the Healthy Attachment Cycle to the Disturbed Attachment Cycle, you can see how the baby has a need, cries, but this time, the need is not met by his mother (primary caregiver). Sometimes the need is met but it is inconsistent or there are different caregivers who are not attuned to this particular baby. Sometimes the baby’s cries go unanswered as in the case of neglect or the baby’s cries are met with a slap as in the case of physical abuse. Whatever the cause, the baby’s needs are not met in a consistent appropriate way.

Instead of learning to trust as the baby who experiences the Healthy Attachment Cycle this baby learns that the world is an unsafe place, that he must take care of himself, that he can trust no one to meet his needs. He learns that he cannot depend on adults. Instead of trust developing, rage develops and is internalized. He learns that he must be in charge of his life for his very survival. Is it any wonder that a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder feels the need to be in control? He thinks his very life depends on it.

If the child has been able to successfully go through the Healthy Attachment Cycle during his first year of life then he most likely will be able to go through the next which is the Second Year Secure

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Attachment Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment

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