DSM-5: Rethinking Reactive Attachment Disorder

There’s an itch within me I can’t scratch; a wild animal clawing to get out. I climb to the highest vantage point in order for all to hear because I have something to say. 

   Most keep on walking like they have seen it all before; a deranged loon yelling at the top of a building. The disconnect does not bother me; one person in a sea of faces will hear what needs to be heard; one person.
I am a RADs kid. Everything else is symptomatic. 

   In infancy the primary care giver sets the foundation for all future relationships, a set of blue prints if you will. Most blue prints are done in ink; a RAD kids are done in chalk. Mine were done in chalk. 

   Growing up every symptom was treated, from my depression to the PTSD. I was diagnosed with RAD but it was always overlooked as my treatment was always in crisis mode having to deal with the most pressing matters first. 

   It was not until my early 20’s that I realized I was putting a band-aid on things to simply quiet my mind until the next episode. With the birth of my children something started to happen in the furthest recesses of my mind; my subconscious began to heal, without me being consciously aware. 

  After my 3rd son was born there was a moment where all my subconscious efforts came to light. It was like the climax of a movie where the character suddenly realizes everything the movie has been building up to in one scene, flashing back to put all the pieces together.
My instincts as a mother saved me. By birthing naturally I unknowingly tapped into the primal parts of my brain. In those few seconds time stood still and a reconnect began. 

   It dawned on me, I could bond; I have bonded. But bonding to my kids was not enough. I needed to be whole, and in order for that to happen I needed to bond with myself. 

   In a lot of ways I allowed my children to guide me, to teach me what it means to be bonded to another person. I kept them close by wearing them as babies, co sleeping until they were ready to sleep on their own, and breastfeeding.
I had spent my whole life fighting who or what I was. Seeing myself as an unfixable monster. I always saw 2 people in me, my subconscious always out to get me or sabotage good days.
In the past decade I have reconnected to this primal part of myself and my views have changed. I no longer see it as a beast out to tear my life apart, but instead more like a watchful eye protecting me.

    I reblogged  this article simply because it read like a text book. It lacks insight or experience. 

    Growing up I was forced to be intune, or sensitive, to What was going on around me. I was a very empathetic child coupled with a skittish disposition. I feel what kept me from taking the leap into the depths of narcissism was the people I took care of daily, my siblings. I raised them; finding them food, keeping them safe, guiding them as best a child could. 

     Before my dad died at 11 it was never about me, no time to focus on my own heartaches. After his death I let go of the responsibility of my siblings and I fell down a spiraling dark hole.  

    The caregiver in me never left as it was as much apart of me as my blond hair was. I rediscovered this when I got my CNA license at 16; caring for others was the only way to truly care for myself. If I was hungry, feed the hungry, and my soul would be fed as well. 


photoIn Part Seven of our blog series…Dissecting the DSM-5…What it Means for Kids and Families we’ll take a closer look at the decision to redefine the diagnostic criteria for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Following this post, we’ll next look at the new companion diagnosis related to pathologic care in early childhood… Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.

When I read through the new criteria for Reactive Attachment Disorder, I found myself hard pressed to think of any condition in which so great a disconnect exists between the way it is defined by academicians and community-based clinicians.

Beginning with the publication of the DSM-III-R in 1987, two subtypes of RAD have been recognized…an emotionally withdrawn, inhibited type and an indiscriminately social/disinhibited type. In the DSM-5, the term Reactive Attachment Disorder has been reserved for the emotionally withdrawn, inhibited type. The indiscriminately social/disinhibited type is now referred to as Disinhibited Social Engagement…

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