Pessimism, self-pity, and lack of faith may be just a few symptoms of a condition called attachment disorder, which begins in childhood and becomes a part of one’s personality in adulthood if unchecked.
Also known as a Reactive Attachment Disorder, attachment disorder in adults is a problem that begins in the most impressionable years of childhood and manifests itself over time into adulthood in a much severe form. The reason for this may be neglect by parents, separation from parents due to death or divorce, or physical or sexual abuse during childhood. Due to these circumstances, children slowly develop feelings of detachment, in that they fail to form long and lasting relationships and find trusting even their close ones difficult.
If not checked at the right time, this continues into adulthood, and ultimately becomes a serious psychological disorder. Fortunately, treatment is possible to a certain extent through counseling and is extremely important at the earliest, simply because it is relationships that form the important bonds in life and every effort should be made to nurture and maintain them. Moreover, the symptoms of this disorder may become severe enough to lead to dangerous, self-destructive behavior.
In adults, attachment disorder may be characterized by one or more of the following symptoms. It is important to note that in order to identify the presence of the disorder, more than two to three symptoms should be evident, which ought to be continuously monitored. The presence of just one symptom or a symptom for a short period of time may not be sufficient evidence for the presence of this condition. Also, those suffering from this disorder may not necessarily exhibit all the symptoms.
► Impulsiveness: Adults with attachment disorder indulge in impulsive behavior, which they may or may not regret later.
► Negative and Provocative Behavior: This condition creates a general negative mindset and leads to provocative behavior that angers others along with oneself.
► Desire for Control: Persons suffering from this disorder have a strong desire to control their surroundings and manipulate people and events around themselves. They may use means like lying, cheating, and even stealing to do so.
► Resistance to Love and Guidance: A natural symptom of an attachment disorder is the lack of ability to connect, empathize or sympathize with anyone. People who suffer from this disorder also face difficulty in giving and receiving love and affection from others. They are unable to develop feelings of closeness. They also refuse to accept general advice and guidance from others.
► Lack of Trust: Along with the lack of ability to empathize, such persons fail to develop trusting relationships with others, irrespective of their closeness with the person in question.
► Anger and Agitation: Adults suffering from attachment disorder are deeply sad and depressed within, and tend to feel isolated. They are overcome by stress and frustration. However, they conceal these traits by showing anger very often, either openly or covertly. Anger is displayed through destructive, cruel, and hostile behavior, and such persons may often argue with those who don’t agree with them.
► Superficial Positive Traits: The other side of the coin is that in spite of the above-mentioned symptoms, persons who suffer from this disorder can also appear charming and can often easily engage one in long and interesting conversations.
► Addictions: Adults suffering from attachment disorder are also likely to indulge in substance abuse such as alcohol and drug addiction; they may also suffer from an addiction to gambling, even to work.
► Helplessness: Due to the symptoms of isolation and depression, persons suffering from attachment disorder feel helpless and feel like they are being accused by family and friends at all times for various reasons.
► Lack of Responsibility: This means that they refuse to take any responsibility for their negative actions and are unable to handle conflict with others.
► Confusion: Such persons are always confused, puzzled, and obsessed with finding answers to their queries. This confusion leads to general lack of concentration and a disability to hold their attention towards any activity for long.
Adults who suffer from attachment disorders most often experience fear and sadness. They deeply desire love and affection, but are unable to portray these desires effectively. Negative experiences in childhood lead them into denial and they fail to understand emotions such as love and attachment. With these deep-seated emotions, it is difficult to just ‘talk them out’ of such feelings. They require advanced therapeutic methods that involve a nurturing touch, restructuring of emotions, and treatment to break through the barriers of the mind and to get them to reveal all those trapped emotions. Role-playing is another method that helps with the treatment of this condition. Seeking expert help is the best way to assess and treat an attachment disorder. Furthermore, it is important that such individuals receive the necessary support from a friend or family member while undergoing therapy. Several times, this friend may be asked to attend therapy with them to be able to generate feelings of trust.
The treatment of this disorder is very sensitive and may take a long period of time, depending on how receptive the adult is to this kind of therapy. To be able to confront the fact that one is suffering from this disorder is itself a very challenging task. As such, therapy, along with the love and support of someone close to the sufferer, will adequately help in treating attachment disorder in adults.
Disclaimer: This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, seek to replace the advice of an expert.