Adult Addiction and Reactive Attachment Disorder in Children
Addiction is described as a family disease because its consequences affect everyone in the addict’s life. An adult’s addiction can impact the lives of children and even cause serious physical and mental health disorders like reactive attachment disorder. In addition, children with reactive attachment disorder are at higher risk for developing addiction and codependency issues later on in life.
What Is Reactive Attachment Disorder in Children?
Reactive attachment disorder, or RAD, is a complex psychiatric illness that affects young children. Children with RAD experience serious problems in emotional attachments to others. The disorder is often diagnosed in preschool aged children, but symptoms of RAD may appear as early as the child’s first birthday. The reason there is often a lag in detecting symptoms of RAD in children is because parents or adult caretakers of children with RAD are often in poor physical or mental health themselves.
Reactive attachment disorder in children is often caused by extreme problems or disruptions in early relationships, physical or emotional abuse, or neglect. Reactive attachment disorder is frequently seen in children who have experienced changes in their primary caretaker or home environment, such as the loss of a parent or placement in a hospital, foster care, orphanage, or residential program. Not all children experience inadequate care, abuse, or neglect, but many children with reactive attachment disorder have been affected by these issues. Sometimes a major change, loss, or death of a parent can trigger the disorder. Even a single parent having different partners during a child’s early years can create dysfunctional relationships and separations with the child that influence the development of reactive attachment disorder.
Symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder in Children
Symptoms of reactive attachment disorder in children may include the following:
- Experiencing extreme feeding troubles, lack of hunger, and failure to gain weight
- Seeming preoccupied, unresponsive, or defiant
- Experiencing difficulty in being comforted
- Seeming detached from others, especially a caretaker or parent
- Appearing cautious and tentative during social interactions
- Showing inappropriate or abnormal familiarity or closeness with strangers
Reactive attachment disorder is characterized by serious problems with emotional attachment to others.
How Adult Addition Can Cause Reactive Attachment Disorder in Children
An adult, parent, or caretaker’s addiction can cause reactive attachment disorder in a child. The exact cause of this disorder in children is unknown, but major risk factors include the following:
- Premature birth
- Prenatal alcohol or drug poisoning
- Postpartum depression in biological mother
- Emotional detachment of parent or caretaker due to addiction or mental health issues
- Cruel treatment or neglect
- Pedagogical incompetence of a biological parent
- Frequent change of adult caretaker
- Failure to diagnose and treat pain and illness in the child
- Serious injury to the child
- High exposure to stress and a stressful environment
Addicted parents and caretakers simply cannot provide the nurturing and healthy relationships and environment that a child needs. Serious physical, emotional, and mental health effects like RAD can develop in a child with an addicted parent, family member, or caretaker.
Help for Addiction, Substance Abuse, or Mental Health Issues
Allowing your addiction, substance abuse, or mental health issues to affect your child is something to be ashamed of, but having a problem with these issues is not. So many people struggle with addiction, substance abuse, and mental health issues each and every day. You are not a “bad person,” but addiction will take away your ability to be a “good parent” to your children. If you are ready to take back the reigns of control and put an end to your addiction, substance abuse, or mental health issue, we can help. You can call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak with a recovery professional who will assist you with your search for treatment and recovery. Whether you have questions, need information, or are ready to find treatment services and recovery professionals today, we are happy to assist you.