4 Types of Attachment Disorders

types of attachment disordersWhat are the possible causes of attachment disorders? For example, the child’s mother has alcohol addiction, and every time when her child cries because of hunger, she either doesn’t respond (if she’s drunk), or reacts each time differently (screaming and beating the child, or simply leaves the room). Another example: several adults are caring for a child in rotation (e.g., nurses in the hospital or teachers in a child’s home), none of them listen to the child and nobody is interested in his welfare, so the reaction to his cries is inconsistent or absent. In both examples a child’s basic needs are not met. And even worse: in response to a call for help, instead of relief the kid often receives not only the indifference, but even brutality.

Of course, the child begins to believe more and more that the world is very dangerous, full of pain and loneliness, that none of the adults cannot and doesn’t want to protect him, that nobody can be trusted. The child tends to the complete control of what is happening, because for him the control is synonymous to life itself. Instead of trust and attachment to adults, he feels anger – and this anger is so great, that it’s displaced into the subconscious.

Of course, a violation of the attachment not always has such a radical nature. Attachment disorder can be ether very pronounced, or mild and easily correctable. Experts identify four types of reactive attachment disorder:

1. In case of neglect or overprotection by parents, in kids usually develops negative (neurotic) attachment. Such a child is “clinging” to parents, looking for “negative” attention, provoking parents to punishment and trying to irritate them.

2. If parents are inconsistent and hysterical: one time caressed, then abused and beat the child – every time rapidly and without objective reasons, thereby not giving their child the opportunity to understand their behavior and adapt to it (typically for alcohol- and drug-dependent parents), it may cause the so-called “ambivalent attachment”. In this case, the child consistently demonstrate an ambivalent attitude to the nearest adults: “attachment and rejection”. The differences in his treatment are common, there are no compromises and half-tones. The child cannot explain his own behavior, and clearly suffers from it.

3. If there was a painful breakup with a close adult and child is “stuck” in a state of grief, or if the separation is perceived by the child as a “betrayal”, the child may demonstrate the so-called “avoidant attachment”. A child with this type of attachment disorder is sullen, closed, doesn’t have trusted relationships with adults and other children, but he can love animals. The main motive is “nobody can be trusted.”

4. Children exposed to systematic cruel treatment and violence, and never had the experience of attachment, demonstrate the so-called “disorganized attachment”. Life has taught these children to survive, by breaking all the rules and limits of human relations, abandoning attachment in favor of power: they do not need to be loved, they prefer to be feared. This is the most difficult type of attachment disorders for possible correction.