The early signs and symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder can often been confused with the early symptoms of ADHD and autism.
Children who suffer with reactive attachment disorder may feel as if no one cares and may feel unsafe in their surroundings. The earlier symptoms of attachment issues are identified, the better. Infants may avoid eye contact, do not reach to be picked up, or reject efforts to be calmed or soothed. Infants may also cry inconsolably or spend a great deal of time rocking or comforting themselves. Reactive Attachment Disorder can be harder to identify in older children and adolescents. Withdrawal and avoidance are common in adolescents with RAD. They encounter difficulty forming connection with peers and adults throughout life. Adolescents may also demonstrate an aversion to touch and physical affection, control issues, anger problems, or difficulty showing genuine care and affection.
With age, Reactive Attachment Disorder may develop into either inhibited or a disinhibited pattern of symptoms. Children expressing inhibited symptoms of RAD are extremely withdrawn and emotionally detached. While they are aware of their surroundings, they do not respond. Alternatively, children expressing disinhibited symptoms of RAD seek comfort and attention from virtually anyone, and are extremely dependent.