Doctors recommend treating emotional attachment disorders with strategies such as creating nurturing environments, providing consistent and stimulating environments for children, and addressing necessary medical, safety and housing needs, notes Mayo Clinic. Children and their families may also benefit from counseling, parental education and parenting skills classes.
As of 2015, doctors do not know why some children exposed to negative environments thrive while others fail to develop attachments, and there is no standard treatment, according to Mayo Clinic. Early interventions that include both children and parents may lead to improvements, and doctors focus treatments on improving children's environments. Parents should smile, make eye contact and caress babies when they have needs such as feeding or diaper changes. Children who live in institutions, frequently change caregivers, have inexperienced parents or do not receive the attention they need are at risk of developing reactive attachment disorder.
Parents and caregivers should be wary of treatments for attachment disorder that appear to be extreme or unconventional, such as those that use force or coercion to break down children's barriers. Organizations such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children have spoken out against these treatments, explains Mayo Clinic. Parents should consult medical professionals when their children show symptoms that include failing to seek comfort or not reaching out when picked up, as the symptoms of reactive attachment disorder are similar to those of other conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder.