RAD: What Is It?

It is healthy and expected for a child to become attached to his primary caregivers, those he looks to for nurturing and soothing. Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a rare condition that occurs when infants and young children who are subject to extreme neglect or abuse fail to establish that expected bond. A child with RAD, which is diagnosed from 9 months to 5 years of age, rarely seeks or responds to comfort when distressed, shows limited positive affect, and has unexplained episodes of irritability, sadness or fearfulness in contact with caregivers.