Reactive attachment disorder in adults


Reactive attachment disorder in adults is found in many cases very commonly, and the disorder takes birth since from the childhood. Whenever children are forced to separate from their family or their basic needs as a child doesn’t get fulfilled, they start having trouble to build relationships in their adulthood. When their parents severely neglect children or get detached from them, they found it very hard to trust their new caretakers. The separation in childhood can gradually become a psychological disorder for a person in his adulthood. In some cases, it is also found that if the detachment was done early in the childhood, it might not create such disorder in a person with his growing age. But a person under proper treatment and care can easily live or manage his life with such disorder. So in this article, we are going to discuss a lot about reactive attachment disorder in adults, and we are almost sure that, someone will get beneficial from it.

Some common symptoms of reactive attachment disorder in adults

Some common symptoms that are repeatedly found in an adult suffering from reactive attachment disorder are as follows:

  • Distrust: adults suffering from this disorder may not be able to trust others whom they are very close with.
  • Anger issues: They are unable to control their anger and may become very destructive sometimes. They are very short-tempered and argumentative and always live under a lot of frustration and tension. They are also unable to get friendly with others when they are not angry and due to which they try to isolate themselves from other.
  • Negative behaviors: They have a lot of negative emotions and try to spread it to their surroundings. They wanted to feel others in the same way as they feel and sometimes may get very depressive if they are unable to do the same.
  • Control issues: They always have a tendency to control over the people surround them and for that they can quickly adopt the manipulative tactics, cheat and lie to control over their environment and caretakers.
  • Impulsive behavior: They take decisions or do the things on impulse without thinking for a while whether it was right or wrong. Some of them pay regret on their impulsive decision, and some do not even feel any regret.
  • Resistance to love: They are not able to receive love from other or to give love in return as they don’t even like to get loved by others.
  • Irresponsible: They are a very irresponsible type and don’t even take the responsibility of their duties. They are not governed and don’t allow others to rule over them.
  • Addiction: Adults having this disorder may indulge in many severe addiction issues such as gambling, alcohol, and drugs, etc. The habit may sometimes be different from the traditional like eating or shopping addiction.
  • Helplessness: They often feel very helpless and think that everyone around them is trying to accuse them whenever there arises any error. This helpless feeling may lead depression and become the primary reason for getting isolated from others.
  • Confusion: They are unable to find the optimal solution of any typical problem and hence get confused doing anything of their own.

reactive attachment disorder in adult

How to treat an adult with reactive attachment disorder

The best treatment is to provide continuous love and support to them who are suffering from it. This disorder takes birth in a child whenever he was neglected or isolated from his parents and unable to receive the love and care for what he deserves must in his childhood. For that negative emotional experience, they try to isolate themselves from other with their growing age and unable to understand the feeling of love and affection. At the beginning of treatment period, it may not be possible to conduct talk-therapy as they have severe trust issues and emotional blocks which further became communication barrier to them. In such case, an experienced therapist may need to rebuild their emotions, trust issues and helps them to get unblocked from their negative emotions. Many therapists now use “role-playing’’ to treat adults suffering from reactive attachment disorder. In such cases, therapist took help from the family member or a friend who is very close to the person suffering from this disorder and try to release some of his negative emotional blocks. Firstly it is vital to develop trust issues failing which it become tough to treat adults suffering from reactive attachment disorder. In many severe cases, it may become necessary to treat with both talk sessions and medications simultaneously.

Supporting an adult with this disorder:

The treatment of reactive attachment disorder is very complicated and may take years to complete. So the first thing you need to do is to address them with the fact that they are suffering from a disorder and try to agree on them for taking the treatment. The most important thing is to provide complete support to them from their loved ones and to build the trust under them. The treatment only gets successful when the caretakers of the patient are gathered around to support them in every critical situation that might be a challenge for them in some cases. A complete therapy with medications and a sound support system can lead a patient to get a cure in a very short period. We can also name the treatment of such disorder as care and cure. So try never to feel them alone and talk to them as much as possible as it can be very useful to unblock the negative emotional barriers.


  1. I have just come tot he conclusion that my husband, age 55 hase adult RAD. I am a retired drug and alcohol therapist. I’ve known for years that he has PTSD and just realized that the PTSD is a function of RAD! Where do I find a qualified therapist tohelp him? he wants the therapy. We both know it will be a long riad, at this poinyt, most likely the rest of our lives but we are both willing. he is tired of running away, his usual MO to any situation which causes him to feel he is getting too close and life is too good, or too bad, or simply too complicated.

    He was found as a three year old in the closet of an abdandoned hotelr room or small apartment. hehas som eoverwhelming memories of that time. These are mostly smells, alcohol. He can remember sounds, loud yelling, arguing, other children. He remembers a tall man and a petite woman, presumably his biological parents. He was then placed in what he thinks was an orphangage or facility of sometype and subsequently adpoted. I met him in his 30’s and we’ve been together ever since. For better, for worse, for richer,for poorer, in sickness and in helt, til death do us part. I have never given up on him no matter how difficult it has gotten and no matter how often he has run awy and hehas always come back. We’ve raised two beautiful chilren together. our son will turn 21 in a few week and we have a daughter who, surprise wants to be a psychologist. They came to understand thier father’s behaviors and love him unconditionally. The three of us and supported each other and through thier childhoods i saw to it that they were sheidled from much of the running away from home activities. When they got older, I simply did my best to explain thier dad’s storyto them and to help them know that we huma’s are not perfect creatures and thathe loved them tot he moon and back and his behaviors had nothing whatsoever to do with them. So far, so good. Both seem to have successful and happy relationships with friends and romantic partners.

    So, any particularly good insights on finding the best treatment? We are located in Central PA.

    • You are aware of the psychological conditions that are affecting the behaviors of your father. Your treatment options should begin with seeking psychological support. A psychologist will be able to serve your father best. They may have advice to offer for future support. You will find great benefit in nourishing your relationship with your father by spending additional time with him in person. Have a great day, Michelle!

  2. My step daughter has for years threatened to throw her son out of their home when he reaches the age of 21, within a few months. He came to us in such an emotional state he cried for two hours, non stop. His mother is extremely controlling a symtom of her own OCD problems. He has never been allowed to have friends over, the house might get dirty. He had never been allowed to have his own money, even as a 19-20 year old. He could not have a savings account in fear that he would spend money on junk food. He has finally left their home and family has intervened. We are helping him learn what a normal family is.

    • It is wonderful that you are supporting your step daughter’s son. It is unfortunate that he has had these experiences. Ensure that you continue to share your kindness and compassion at all times, as this will help him have a healthy outlook and life. This will help draw positive people and energy into both of your lives. Have a great day, Grace!

  3. What you don’t address is that caregivers are constantly being manipulated lied to creating an environment that is in constant stress because of their behavior and further more because a lot of them can’t move out of the behavior even after years of therapy when do you feel adoptive parents need to hold this behaviour accountable? Our transgender daughter/son now 19 years old still does all the above. I feel she needs to be held responsible for the constant bad behavior and will no longer financially support her and am evicting her from our condo where she now lives with another daughter of ours that she has emotionally abused. If they won’t get the right help you’re just in a vicious cycle.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. Your perspective is valid, and we appreciate when members of our community share their thoughts and feelings. If you feel that your child needs psychological support, then help them as you are able to do so. Please share more of your supportive comments in the future. Have a great day, Leslie!

    • The best way to learn about medications that may benefit you is to speak with a medical professional. Make an appointment if you want to seek diagnosis. Self-diagnosis can be dangerous with any disorder. Best of luck, Kathryn!


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