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How Residential Treatment Centers Treat RAD

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is prevalent in adolescents who grew up in an extremely neglectful or abusive environment. Parents who find themselves raising a teen who is not their biological child might end up dealing with the effects of RAD.

If you are parenting a teen with RAD, you may find it to be difficult if not impossible to treat at home. Residential treatment centers offer a professional therapeutic approach to addressing RAD in teens.

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

When babies and toddlers don’t form a positive bond with their caregivers, they can develop RAD. If left untreated, kids with RAD often struggle to form meaningful connections with others for the rest of their lives. This can lead to problems at home, at school, at work, and in interpersonal relationships.

Some common signs of RAD include:

  1. Making superficial connections but never developing meaningful relationships

  2. Having a hard time making eye contact

  3. Avoiding physical touch with parents/guardians or other people they should trust

  4. Being overly affectionate with acquaintances

  5. Connecting more easily with strangers or acquaintances than with their parent/guardian

  6. Failing to show typical emotions for the environment or situation

  7. Becoming easily upset when something doesn’t go their way

  8. Acting more immature than they should for their age

Some common causes of RAD include:

  1. Not knowing when they will be fed as a baby or small child

  2. Not being held or comforted when they cried as a baby

  3. Being left in a soiled diaper for much longer than they should be

  4. Having absent parents (either physically absent or passed out due to drugs or alcohol)

  5. Having parents with mental health problems that make it hard for them to raise their child

  6. Experiencing physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child

Treatment for RAD

When deciding on the best type of treatment for your son, there are a few things to consider. Depending on where you live, there may or may not be many treatment options in your area. Metropolitan areas often have a variety of therapists and psychologists who are proficient at treating RAD in teens. Specialized therapists become harder to find in the suburbs and more rural areas.

If you find a therapist in your area, they might prescribe a variety of treatment methods based on your son’s needs and your family’s ability to support him at home. It requires hard work for both the teen and the family to overcome past trauma and build new connections. Sometimes, home isn’t the best place for this work.

When teens attend a residential treatment center, they are guaranteed to receive specialized treatment and to work with qualified staff. They live in a supervised environment with structured days that help them learn to feel more secure. Since students get to know the schedule and know what to expect, they can feel confident working with their therapists to address the root of their detachment.

Types of therapeutic intervention for teens with RAD

At Sundance Canyon Academy, we utilize several proven treatment styles to address RAD in teen boys. Our students receive individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. By addressing the issue from multiple angles, students learn new ways to connect with others and maintain positive relationships.

Individual therapy

Each of our students receives at least 90 minutes of individual therapy each week. If needed, the whole session can happen all at once. As the student makes progress, his therapy sessions can become shorter and more spaced out.

Group therapy

Students attend group therapy each day, and they get to work in groups specific to their needs. Teen boys with RAD need to work specifically to address past trauma, understand how it affects current thoughts and actions, and change their behavior. Sessions are led by professional therapists who are proficient in working with teens who have RAD.

Family therapy

Depending on your family’s situation, you can either attend family therapy sessions in person or virtually. Family therapy sessions occur each week and focus on the issues directly facing each family. For teens with RAD, family therapy sessions largely focus on building connections and helping the teen learn to trust again.

Contact us today to find out if our school is a good fit for your family.

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