If you’ve ever adopted a child or even thought about it, you’ve probably heard about reactive attachment disorder. A common misconception is that an adopted teen experiencing attachment issues will have reactive attachment disorder in teens. Just because an adopted teen is experiencing issues with attachment does not automatically doom them to a reactive attachment disorder (RAD) diagnosis. This assumption can cause issues when trying to properly diagnose and treat a child.

Discerning between attachment issues and reactive attachment disorder in teens

Attachment issues and reactive attachment disorder in teens have some similarities, but they’re vastly different. They’re similar in that they both have to do with attachment and how individuals form relationships with others.
Reactive Attachment Disorder in Teens

  • Diagnosis is teased out by looking at an individual’s history and psychosocial tests. Finding the root of reactive attachment disorder in teens is like a treasure hunt–you have to find the root of the issue to fully understand what’s going on. For example, being kept in the ICU as an infant for a prolonged amount of time could trigger RAD.
  • Often appears and is diagnosed early-on (before the age 6).
  • Causes various behavioral and emotional issues
  • Makes forming meaningful, healthy, long-term relationships with others extremely difficult
  • Can be treated with the correct therapy and support

Attachment Issues

  • Can be a symptom of something deeper, such as trauma, anxiety, or depression
  • Can appear early on, in adolescence, or even adulthood
  • Sometimes it can go away with time, but untreated it can definitely lead to further issues and hinder a person’s ability to form meaningful, long-term relationships with others
  • Has ability to cause emotional and behavioral issues
  • Can be treated through focused and purposeful therapy with support

Attachment issues and reactive attachment disorder in teens have the power to halt personal growth, disrupt social success, and make life difficult overall. This is why it’s incredibly important for parents to reach out to a professional if they notice any signs or red flags for these types of issues. Children who are not adopted can also grapple with reactive attachment disorder in teens–the best thing you can do as a parent is keep your eyes open and seek out help if you believe something is off.

Asheville Academy can help with attachment issues

Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, social isolation, relationship forming issues, and other behavioral or emotional challenges. While we don’t treat reactive attachment disorder in teens, we do treat attachment issues in young girls. With the help of our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program, our students move closer to a healthier life. At Asheville Academy, we use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to help your daughter reach success.

For more information about Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.