If you suspect your child may have reactive attachment disorder, you may start by taking your child to see your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, your child may be referred to a child and adolescent psychiatrist for a complete evaluation.
Because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any behavior problems or emotional issues you've noticed, and include any signs or symptoms that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled your child's appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or life changes your child has been through.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements your child is taking.
- Write down questions to ask your child's doctor ahead of time.
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For signs and symptoms that could be caused by attachment problems, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my child's behavior problems or emotional issues?
- Are there other possible causes for my child's behavior problems or emotional issues?
- What kinds of tests does my child need?
- What's the best treatment?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- My child has these other mental or physical health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that my child needs to follow?
- Should I take my child to see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for my child?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
What to expect from your doctor
Your child's psychiatrist is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Some questions the doctor may ask include:
Jul. 06, 2011
- When did you first begin noticing your child's behavior problems or emotional issues?
- Have your child's behavior problems or emotional issues been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your child's behavior problems or emotional issues?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your child's behavior problems or emotional issues?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's behavior problems or emotional issues?
- Reactive attachment disorder of infancy or early childhood. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed June 9, 2011.
- Haugaard JJ, et al. Recognizing and treating uncommon emotional disorders in children and adolescents who have been severely maltreated: Reactive attachment disorder. Child Maltreatment. 2004;9:154.
- Horner G. Reactive attachment disorder. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 2008;22:234.
- Reactive attachment disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/reactive_attachment_disorder. Accessed June 9, 2011.
- Newman L, et al. Recent advances in the theories of and interventions with attachment disorders. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 2007;20:343.
- Boris NW, et al. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with reactive attachment disorder of infancy and early childhood. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://aacap.browsermedia.com/galleries/PracticeParameters/rad.pdf. Accessed June 9, 2011.
- Cornell T, et al. Clinical interventions for children with attachment problems. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. 2008;21:35.
- Report of the APSAC task force on attachment therapy, reactive attachment disorder, and attachment problems. Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children. http://www.attach.org/apsac.htm. Accessed June 9, 2011.
- Coercive interventions for reactive attachment disorder. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/policy_statements/coercive_interventions_for_reactive_attachment_disorder. Accessed June 9, 2011.