What are Attachment Issues?
The term “attachment issues” broadly describes problems related to social relationships, behavior, and mood resulting from an early childhood failure to attach with a primary caregiver. This failure to attach can lead to a lack of self worth and trust, fear of intimacy, anger, a need for control, and the belief that the world is a frightening and unsafe place. The symptoms of attachment issues in children are highly variable but often consist of behavior that is incongruous with their age; for example, a toddler that cannot be comforted by contact with familiar adults, or an 8 year old who is excessively friendly or outgoing with strangers.
The most serious form of attachment issues is Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD. This condition is common in children who were moved from home to home in foster care, raised in an orphanage, abused, or taken from their primary caregiver after a bond had been established. The symptoms of RAD include an aversion to physical affection, a need to be in control, excessive anger, difficulty showing care, and an underdeveloped sense of empathy. RAD can be further divided into two patterns of symptoms: inhibited and disinhibited. Inhibited symptoms include being emotionally withdrawn, resistant to support, extreme awareness of surroundings but low responsiveness, and negative reactions to touch. Disinhibited symptoms include extreme and indiscriminate comfort seeking, co-dependence, appearing to act younger than their chronological age, and chronic anxiety.