The emergence of reactive attachment disorder symptoms is possible with 8-month age. Only dual attachment type applies to pathological, while the indifferent type arises in the normal children with high activity and identity level.
In ICD-10 reactive attachment disorder of is described in section F9: “Behavioural and emotional disorders with onset usually occurring in childhood and adolescence”. The criteria for attachment disorder according to ICD-10 are:
a) The age of 5 years;
b) Inadequate or altered social and family relationships as a result of:
- Lack of interest to contact with family members or other people;
- Reaction of fear or extreme sensitivity in the presence of strangers, which does not disappear with the appearance of mother or other relatives;
c) Indiscriminate sociability (familiarity, inquisitive questions, etc.);
d) The absence of somatic pathology, mental retardation symptoms of infantile autism.
2 Main Types of Attachment Disorders
There are 2 variants of attachment disorders – reactive and disinhibited. Reactive attachment disorder is manifested as affective disorders in response to changing environmental conditions, especially at a time when adults leave their child. Such kids show timidity and increased alertness (“inhibited vigilance”) in the presence of strangers, which does not disappear with comforting. Children avoid contact, including with peers. The disorder can occur as a result of direct parental neglect, abuse, serious errors in education. The principal difference between this disorder and infantile autism is that in normal circumstances the child remain vivid emotional reactions and a desire to communicate. If a child is brought up in a parent’s deprivation, the increased anxiety and fearfulness can be mitigated by emotional responsiveness of educators. Kids with reactive attachment disorder don’t have a pathological not shut off, which is characteristic of autism, as well as the intellectual defect.
Disinhibited Attachment Disorder
Disinhibited attachment disorder is manifested as indiscriminate stickiness of children aged 2-4 years to adults.
Similar to attachment disorders mental problems can occur with intellectual hypoplasia syndrome and infantile autism, which makes it necessary to conduct a differential diagnosis between these conditions and disorders of attachment.
Children with weight loss and with no interest in the environment, often suffer food hypoplasia syndrome (Eating disorder). However, a similar feeding disorder can occur in children who experience a lack of attention from parents.
So, reactive attachment disorder has features of many other psychological disorders.