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Reactive Attachment Disorder

Reactive Attachment Disorder

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but severe condition in which an infant or young child doesn't establish healthy attachments with parents or caregivers. As they mature, the child develops poor habits toward adults and authority figures. RAD can create a barrier between the child and their parents if not treated correctly. This can also occur when a parent portrays failures to care for the child's needs, such as showing affection or not caring for physical needs. RAD is considered a mental illness and is a serious cause of behavioral issues in young adolescence. Reactive Attachment Disorder usually presents itself before the age of 5 years old. And is more prevalent in children who have been adopted. This behavioral disorder can cause life-altering changes and affect an individual throughout adulthood.

What Does RAD Look Like?

Some symptoms of RAD include depression, a lack of empathy, and no drive to receive help, and it may also cause fear of their caregivers. Some other symptoms may include a lack of care for other individuals and a self-serving mentality. According to Better Help, other symptoms may include impulsiveness, hyper-sexuality, hyperactivity, developmental delays, language delays, homicidal and suicidal impulses, stealing, lying, vandalism, arson, and animal cruelty. In some rare cases, RAD may also develop in an environment where all the child's needs are met and accounted for.

At White River Academy, we offer behavioral correction treatment that can help alter the course of individuals struggling with RAD.

Treatments for RAD

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a difficult disorder to treat. Behavioral Management Training (BTM) has yielded the best results. At White River Academy, we offer behavioral correction treatment that can help alter the course of individuals struggling with RAD. RAD is a massive contributor to individuals who struggle to progress with their peers. Some adolescence obtain what we call a “ developmental vacation.” A developmental vacation is when adolescence cease to progress with the rest of the world, ultimately creating a forever 4-year-old. They become comfortable with not engaging with society. The developmental vacation that adolescence may experience needs correction to allow for progress through the stages of change to take place. Some of the most crucial steps to combat symptoms of RAD are observing the behavior that is negatively affecting the individual, reflecting on the choices that led to the behavior, redirecting the behavior to a better alternative, and interpreting how to improve on the behavior in the future. These steps are incorporated into the Developmental Vacation Model as implemented at White River Academy. These processes are consistently repeated in the structure at White River Academy to assist the individual to gain independence and a functioning human experience. For more information visit


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