Attachment Disorder is a broad term that describes mood, behavior and social disorders that were or are caused by a child’s failure to form normal attachments to their primary caregiver. Most children who have this disorder are adopted or foster children, most of whom have had negative experiences such as neglect, abuse and an abrupt separation from their primary caregiver after within ages 6 months to 3 years old.
The exact symptoms of attachment disorder are unclear, although there are schools of thought that have their basis for determining that a child has attachment disorder. The Institute For Attachment and Child Development lists the following symptoms:
- Do not trust caregivers or adults in authority.
- Have extreme control problems, manifested in covertly manipulative or overtly hostile ways.
- Do not develop a moral foundation: no empathy, no remorse, no conscience, and/or no compassion for others.
- Lack the ability to give and receive genuine affection or love.
- Resist all efforts to nurture or guide them.
- Lack cause and effect thinking.
- Act out negatively, provoking anger in others.
- Lie, steal, cheat, and/or manipulate.
- Are destructive, cruel, argumentative and/or hostile.
- Lack self-control – are impulsive.
- Are superficially charming and engaging.
IACD is also the primary proponent of the controversial treatment technique called Attachment Therapy, which is an intensive psychotherapy that is combined with therapeutic foster care so that the child is enveloped in a therapeutic environment 24 hours a day.