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Reactive Attachment Disorder and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder 

Reactive Attachment Disorder and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder
Reactive Attachment Disorder and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

Eric L. Scott

, Christopher Keary

, Jennifer M. King

, Charles H. Zeanah

, and Christopher J. McDougle

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date: 28 January 2022

Although social abnormalities in young children raised in abnormal environments have been described for many years, it was not until the publication of the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that reactive attachment disorder (RAD) appeared in psychiatric nosologies. The disorder described aberrant social behaviors in young children that were believed to derive from being reared in caregiving environments lacking in species-typical nurturance and stimulation, such as in instances of maltreatment or institutional rearing. Subsequent to the original description of the disorder, criteria in the fifth edition of the DSM have been revised, bifurcating RAD into separate diagnoses. This chapter describes features, characteristics, and treatment considerations for RAD and disinhibited social engagement disorder.

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