Types of Attachment Disorders
It is important to note that attachment disorders are not the same as attachment styles. An attachment disorder is a diagnosis, but attachment styles are broader descriptors of more minor issues. Attachment styles can be secure or insecure.
Secure Attachment Style
A secure attachment style develops from a positive bond between child and caregiver. From a young age, a child understands from experience that they can trust that person to keep them safe and care for them, whether that be feeding them or comforting them. Individuals with a secure attachment style tend to have healthier relationships as adults, have more confidence, handle stress well, and solve problems more easily.
Insecure Attachment Style
When a child experiences negative or unpredictable responses from their caregiver, they may develop an insecure attachment style. It’s distressing for the child when they see their primary adult as someone who they can’t trust to care for them, provide for them, or even be present. This adversity not only leads to an attachment disorder but also contributes to further issues in adulthood.
Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
RAD is often caused by the caregiver’s withdrawal. Children may have adverse reactions to being with that caregiver. As a child with RAD grows up without treatment, they may have trouble expressing their emotions and forming healthy bonds. Such children may also be more likely to develop anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED)
In some ways, DSED is the opposite of RAD. With DSED, a child becomes overly friendly and relies on strange and unknown adults. They may approach strangers, wander off, and seek physical comfort from strangers without hesitation. This can be incredibly dangerous and lead to further trauma.
Treating Attachment Disorder
Without treatment, both attachment disorders can lead to adverse outcomes for adults such as:
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty in social situations
- Substance abuse
- Co-occurring disorders
Treatment for attachment disorder often involves psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Following a psychiatric assessment, a care provider will develop an individualized plan that often involves both the child and their family or parents. The therapist must develop a strong understanding of the relationship between the child and their primary caregiver.
Attachment Disorder Care at Lighthouse Recovery
Here at Lighthouse Recovery, we provide compassionate care and support for our clients. In the case of attachment disorder, we focus our treatment on shame and trauma work. Part of our core philosophy is to work with you to uncover the underlying causes of such problems and work through them together.
As attachment disorders can often lead to co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, or substance use disorder (SUD), we treat you as a whole person. Our comprehensive program balances clinical modalities and focuses on life-skills training, giving clients the insight, experience, tools, and confidence they need to lead rewarding and independent lives.
We will help you confront any uncomfortable emotions and help you find true progress. Our care team treats each client as the individual they are. From your circumstances to your treatment, we will always take a direct and unique approach to treatment. Our staff-to-client ratio, program structure, and holistic approach allow us to work on a customizable basis with each client.