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Attachment Disorder

Babies and children who are adopted sometimes experience symptoms of Radical Attachment Disorder (RAD). This is a mental and emotional condition that occurs during the first three year of life. The child does not attach, bond or trust his/her biological mother due to neglect or abuse. When a relationship is not built, the child won't thrive psychologically. This lack of bonding will flavor the rest of the child's life if no intervention is sought.

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Superficially engaging or charming

  • Lack of eye contact

  • Developmental delays

  • Destructive to self

  • Repulsed by affection or indiscriminately affectionate with strangers

  • Unable to cry when hurt

  • Sneaky or bossy personality

  • Abnormal speech patterns

  • Engage in hoarding or hiding food

  • Obvious lying

  • Stealing

  • Cruelty to animals

  • Impulsive behavior

  • Lacks cause and effect thinking

  • Poor peer relationships

  • Manipulative

  • Learning difficulties or disorders

  • Preoccupation with fire or fire-setting

  • Attracted to blood, gore and violence

There may also be coexisting diagnoses of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Bipolar Disorder, Mood Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

There are psychologists that specialize in RAD. If an older child has been adopted, they should immediately be seen for an evaluation. If the parents have the tools to help, there is a chance for the child to overcome this disorder. If a baby has been adopted from a mother with drug and alcohol issues, when the child enters preschool, an evaluation would be wise.

It's a tragedy if the parents are unaware of RAD, and as a result, the child suffers as well as the whole family. There is help. There is hope!

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