I hope to give a bit of a brief overview per the title.
I should note initially: THE DEGREE--THE SEVERITY OF ATTACHMENT DISORDER makes a huge difference in the implications--of course.
However, I'd also quickly add . . . that while the professionals used to insist (may still--been a while since I've checked the literature) that only
20% of the population was afflicted with RAD, I have long believed it was more likely that only 20% or LESS were NOT afflicted with RAD.
When I got into it online with another mental health professional, by the time he understood my criteria, he agreed. I mean any significant degree of
RAD which leaves a detectable mark on the person's life and relationships.
The best book I know on the topic is:
ATTACHMENT: Why You Love, Feel and Act The Way You do
By Drs Sibcy and Clinton
There are 10 steps in the back of the book that adults plagued with the results of ATTACHMENT DISORDER can take to mostly overcome the effects of
I've studied and taught about RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) for decades.
And only recently did I come across the now documented fact that those of us with RAD are literally physiologically brain damaged.
The frontal & interior areas of the brain which have to do with RELATIONSHIPS and emotions in relationships were . . . NOT DEVELOPED PROPERLY due to
I have long contended--primarily because of my experiences as a psychology professor but also due to my experiences as a clinical psychologist that
ATTACHMENT DISORDER was PRIMARILY the responsibility of poor fathering.
Certainly there are many mothers who contribute significantly to serious ATTACHMENT DISORDER. However, in my experience and observation, most mothers
are perhaps overly given to unconditional love--however pressured, exhausted etc. they may be.
Just yesterday in a follow-up book by Dr Clinton:
He discusses the findings of a couple of land mark research studies:
I'm listing below several ref's related to those and similar studies:
One of the key studies may be ref'd here:
Johns Hopkins Med J. 1974 May;134(5):251-70.
Closeness to parents and the family constellation in a prospective study of five disease states: suicide, mental illness, malignant tumor,
hypertension and coronary heart disease.
Thomas CB, Duszynski KR.
But seems to be behind the usual professional journal subscriptions etc.
Dr Tim Clinton & Joshua Straub, in the follow-up book GOD ATTACHMENT mentioned above mention some of the findings in that landmark study (emphases
* "In large measure, what's causing this crisis of American childhood is a lack of connectedness. We mean two kinds of
connectedness--close connections to other people, and deep connections to moral and spiritual meaning."4
* "Much of this report is a presentation of scientific evidence--largely from the field of neuroscience, which concerns our basic biology and how our
brains develop--showing that the human child is 'hardwired to connect.' We are hardwired for other people and for moral meaning and openness to the
transcendent. Meeting these basic needs for connection is essential to health and to human flourishing."5 [For a thorough understanding into the
nature of this study and its findings, see "Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities, Executive Summary,"
Institute for American Values, Sept 9, 2003,
"In addition to the study at Dartmouth Medical School, a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical School set out on a thirty-year study to find
out if a single related cause existed for mental illness, hypertension, malignant tumors, coronary heart disease, and
suicide. After studying 1,377 people over a thirty-year period, the single common denominator was not diet or
exercise. Not at all. They found instead that the most significant predictor of these five calamities was
a lack of closeness to parents, especially the father.7
"Precursors of Premature Disease and Death
The Predictive Potential of Habits and Family Attitudes"
CAROLINE BEDELL THOMAS, M.D., M.A.C.P.
The youthful habits and family attitudes of medical students who later developed or died from one of five disease states were different from those of
healthy classmate controls to begin with. In medical school, the total disorder group had significantly more nervous tension, anxiety, and anger under
stress, had more insomnia, smoked more cigarettes, and took alcoholic drinks more frequently. Individual disorder group means were significantly
different from each other. The mental illness group showed the most nervous tension, depression, and anger under stress and the malignant tumor group
the least. The malignant tumor group resembled the healthy control group in these respects. The suicide, mental illness, and malignant tumor groups
had low mean scores for closeness to parents, while the hypertension and coronary occlusion group means were slightly higher than the control group
mean. Thus psychologic differences in youth have predictive potential in regard to premature disease and death.
This is the first time I've seen solid research proof and documentation of something I've been telling my students for 20-30 years.
I don't know how to express HOW WELCOME the findings are, to me. I never doubted I was right. It can just be a lonely position without documentable
And, the findings are certainly sad.
IIRC, 95% of the prisoners in all our prisons have serious degrees of ATTACHMENT DISORDER.
Certainly it is a major root cause of divorce.
Henry Wright of
asserts that ALL ADDICTIONS are rooted in a lack of father's effective love.
This is all quite congruent with another landmark study around 40 years ago--the title of which has long faded from memory.
This was a study of all the other studies trying to find out what child-rearing practices and factors produced children who were healthy functioning
adults. The definition of healthy adult funcitoning was
--no trouble with the law
--durable job record
--not on welfare
The SINGLE FACTOR accounting for 80% of the variance resulting in success as adults was . . . guess . . .
NO, NOT whether the parents LOVED the kid or not.
it was whether the kid
That was it. And that's different for each child as each child's genetics and personality are different.
another useful link:
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