Reactive attachment disorder is a rare condition that occurs when a young child or infant fails to establish healthy attachments to their caregivers or parents. The condition might develop if a child’s basic needs regarding nurturing, affection, and comfort aren’t met. Treatment can help children develop healthy and stable relationships with their caregivers. The usual treatments include counseling for parents and caregivers, psychological counseling, education about positive caregiver and child interactions, and creating a nurturing environment. While the condition can begin in infancy, it has been studied in children from infancy through five years old. There are a number of symptoms of reactive attachment disorder caregivers and medical professionals should be aware of.
Children with reactive attachment disorder may have a listless appearance. They may seem sad without any discernable reason for being sad. Listlessness might include a lack of reaction to outside stimuli, a lack of interest in the world around them, and a general lack of attachment. They might not smile even when caregivers try to engage them in fun activities. These are all signs an infant or young child is failing to relate to the world in an emotionally healthy way. It’s important for these children to be evaluated by a doctor or psychologist. Sometimes a listless appearance is related to issues besides reactive attachment disorder, such as a sign of neurodivergence like autism spectrum disorder, or a sign of early mental illness.
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