Attachment disorder is a broad term intended to describe disorders of mood, behavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form normal attachments to primary care giving figures in early childhood, resulting in problematic social expectations and behaviors. Such a failure would result from unusual early experiences of neglect, abuse, abrupt separation from caregivers after about six months of age but before about three years of age, frequent change of caregivers or excessive numbers of caregivers, or lack of caregiver responsiveness to child communicative efforts. A problematic history of social relationships occurring after about age three may be distressing to a child, but does not result in attachment disorder.
The term attachment disorder is most often used to describe emotional and behavioral problems of young children, but is sometimes applied to school-age children or even to adults. The specific difficulties implied depend on the age of the individual being assessed, and a child's attachment-related behaviors may be very different with one familiar adult than with another, suggesting that the disorder is within the relationship and interactions of the two people rather than an aspect of one or the other personality. No list of symptoms can legitimately be presented but generally the term attachment disorder refers to the absence or distortion of age appropriate social behaviors with adults. For example, in a toddler, attachment-disordered behavior could include a failure to stay near familiar adults in a strange environment or to be comforted by contact with a familiar person, whereas in a six-year-old attachment-disordered behavior might involve excessive friendliness and inappropriate approaches to strangers.
There are currently two main areas of theory and practice relating to the definition and diagnosis of attachment disorder, and considerable discussion about a broader definition altogether. The first main area is based on scientific enquiry, is found in academic journals and books and pays close attention to attachment theory. It is described in ICD-10 as reactive attachment disorder, or "RAD" for the inhibited form, and disinhibited attachment disorder, or "DAD" for the disinhibited form. In DSM-IV-TR both comparable inhibited and disinhibited types are called reactive attachment disorder or "RAD".
The second area is controversial and considered pseudoscientific. It is found in clinical practice, on websites and in books and publications, but has little or no evidence base. It makes controversial claims relating to a basis in attachment theory. The use of these controversial diagnoses of attachment disorder is linked to the use of pseudoscientific attachment therapies to treat them.
Some authors have suggested that attachment, as an aspect of emotional development, is better assessed along a spectrum than considered to fall into two non-overlapping categories. This spectrum would have at one end the characteristics called secure attachment; midway along the range of disturbance would be insecure or other undesirable attachment styles; at the other extreme would be non-attachment. Agreement has not yet been reached with respect to diagnostic criteria.
Finally, the term is also sometimes used to cover difficulties arising in relation to various attachment styles which may not be disorders in the clinical sense.
Read more about Attachment Disorder: Attachment and attachment Disorder, Classification, Boris and Zeanah's Typology, Problems of Attachment Style, Diagnosis, Treatment, Possible Mechanisms, Pseudoscientific Diagnoses and Treatment
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... the ambit of the discourse on a broader set of criteria discussed above, the term attachment disorder has been increasingly used by some clinicians to refer to a broader set of ... or, despite its name, to be based on attachment theory, with which it is considered incompatible ... A common feature of this form of diagnosis within attachment therapy is the use of extensive lists of "symptoms" which include many behaviours that are ...
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Famous quotes containing the words disorder and/or attachment:
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