Symptoms of Teens with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Understanding the challenges and symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD, requires knowledge of how it is caused. Infants typically form attachment to their primary caregiver by repeated touch, being soothed and consistently having their needs met. These activities lay the groundwork for trust and future healthy attachments such as relationships with family and friends. When this process is disrupted or never occurs before the age of five, it can result in the lifelong consequences of RAD.

Although RAD is not considered common, the effects of the disorder are long reaching. Children who suffer from RAD fit into several categories of causes. For instance, RAD is not uncommon in children who have been adopted. Children who regularly changed caregivers, such as foster children are also at risk, as are children who lose their mothers at a very early age. Children who experience persistent neglect or abuse are also at high risk for the disorder.

Symptoms of Teens with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Common Expectations Of Teens With Reactive Attachment Disorder

RAD manifests in a variety of ways ranging from withdrawal and isolation to severe aggression and a compelling need to be in control of every situation. All RAD sufferers feel a lack of trust and an inability to connect or properly bond with others. Early intervention gives RAD kids the best shot at a healthy future, as the older an individual gets, the more complexly the disorder can affect every phase of life. Unfortunately, once RAD has been inflicted and diagnosed, there is no cure. However, through therapy, RAD sufferers can learn to manage their symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

Teens with RAD are particularly susceptible to risky behaviors as the adolescent years are a tricky time for even healthy teens. Most teens yearn to feel included and accepted, however RAD teens have an even more intense craving for approval and love, but don't trust it when it is given. Because one of the symptoms of RAD is a decreased sense of guilt, teens with the disorder are at much higher risk for behavior such as substance abuse and sexual activity. Suicide, running away and cutting are all very common among RAD teens. At this time, kids are learning enough about social rules to mimic healthy interactions, but underneath, the problems remain and if left untreated, will affect all of their future relationships. RAD is not something an individual grows out of or learns to handle on their own. It is a condition that requires constant treatment.

Improving Teenage Habits Associated With RAD

The adolescent years are an ideal time to modify the destructive behavior of a teen with RAD. The individual is old enough to understand what is happening within themselves and can be mature enough to open up and learn to develop real relationships and heal the intense craving for affection and trust. Parenting a teen with RAD is an exercise in patience, as the process is often one step forward and two steps back. Manipulation and lying are both common behaviors that can challenge the therapeutic process and frustrate parents. Parents must walk a fine line between showing empathy and love without  enabling manipulative behavior. Time, therapy and patience is the combination that allows teens to acquire the tools to manage their symptoms.

If your teen has been diagnosed with RAD, or if you suspect that they have the disorder, contact us today at Liahona Academy 1-800-675-8101 to discuss your treatment options. We are a full time therapeutic residential facility that specializes in helping teen boys overcome the negative symptoms of RAD. Our experienced therapists and accredited programs can put your teen on the path to happy, healthy adulthood.

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