While it's not known with certainty if reactive attachment disorder can be prevented, there may be ways to reduce the risk of its development.
July 10, 2014
- Educate yourself about attachment issues if your child has a background that includes institutions or foster care. Ask your pediatrician about resources, check reputable Internet sites, or consider checking with an adoption agency to identify educational materials and other resources.
- Take classes or volunteer with children if you lack experience or skill with babies or children. This will help you learn how to interact in a nurturing manner.
- Be actively engaged with your child by lots of playing, talking to him or her, making eye contact, and smiling.
- Learn to interpret your baby's cues, such as different types of cries, so that you can meet his or her needs quickly and effectively.
- Provide warm, nurturing interaction with your child, such as during feeding, bathing or changing diapers.
- Offer both verbal and nonverbal responses to the child's feelings through touch, facial expressions and tone of voice.
- Reactive attachment disorder of infancy or early childhood. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Reactive attachment disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Reactive_Attachment_Disorder_85.aspx. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- 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 April 9, 2014.
- Boris NW, et al. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with reactive attachment disorder of infancy and early childhood. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2005;44:1206.
- Hales RE, et al. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2008. http://www.psychiatryonline.org/resourceToc.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Chaffin M, et al. Report of the APSAC task force on attachment therapy, reactive attachment disorder, and attachment problems. Child Maltreatment. 2006;11:76.
- Position statement on reactive attachment disorder. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psych.org/advocacy--newsroom/position-statements. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 22, 2014.
- Tervo RC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 20, 2014.
- Mikic N, et al. Mentalization and attachment representations: A theoretical contribution to the understanding of reactive attachment disorder. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. 2014;78:34.