Reactive Attachment Disorder

Adult, Adolescent, and Child Psychiatrists & Psychotherapists located in New Lenox and Hinsdale, IL

Reaction Attachment Disorder

About Reaction Attachment Disorder

If a child grew up without adequate, loving care, or someone removed them from their homes and placed them in other settings like foster care, they might experience reactive attachment disorder (RAD). At Spectrum Behavioral Health, compassionate psychiatric care professionals offer RAD care to patients 4 and older. With offices in New Lenox and Hinsdale, Illinois, the team utilizes supportive therapy to help your child cope with loss, improve communication, and bond with parental figures. Call the friendly staff today or reach out online for an in-person or telehealth appointment.

Reaction Attachment Disorder Q&A

What is reactive attachment disorder?


Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a condition where a child has trouble forming healthy emotional bonds with their caretakers or parental figures. They could also have problems managing their emotions and connecting with others.


RAD is often brought on by emotional neglect or abuse that some children experience at an early age. The risk of RAD increases if they have several parental figures, someone took them from their primary caretakers, they experienced traumatic losses, or they spent time in institutions without loving parental figures.

What are the symptoms of reactive attachment disorder?

Children with RAD often exhibit symptoms even in situations with loving and caring parental figures or caretakers.


The symptoms of RAD are unique to every child but can include: 


  • Avoidance of physical touch or eye contact
  • Detachment
  • Lack of positive emotions when interacting with others
  • Failure to smile
  • Tantrums
  • Frequent signs of unhappiness or sadness
  • Lack of social engagement
  • No interest in interactive games like peekaboo
  • Finding things in their environment that they can control, leading to breaking rules


It’s important to seek care early, as RAD can lead to problems in adolescence or adulthood, like delays in reaching developmental milestones, emotional issues, substance use disorder, relationship problems, and trouble in school.

How is reactive attachment disorder treated?

To diagnose RAD, your provider asks you about your child’s medical history and what symptoms they’re experiencing. 

They seek information about their history of neglect or abuse when the symptoms were first noticed, their interactions, their living situation, and the other caregivers in their lives.

Providers will rule out other conditions leading to your child’s symptoms, like adjustment disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), depressive disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Treating RAD supports emotionally healthy bonds between children and their caregivers. This allows the children to develop other healthy relationships in the future and have a positive self-image.


Treatment can include:


  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Family therapy
  • Social skills intervention, where your child learns how to interact with other children
  • Play therapy
  • School-based programs to help your child during school hours
  • Parenting skills sessions

RAD treatments benefit children and their families. Providers can help parents learn warm, nurturing ways to engage with their children and communicate using verbal and nonverbal responses.

Book an appointment online today or call Spectrum Behavioral Health to learn more about exceptional RAD treatments.