Children are truly the foundation for all that society hopes to achieve in the future. They are the most precious resource. This is why there may be no greater tragedy than the abuse of a child. Seeing a child suffer from reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is heartbreaking. But treating a child with RAD is far from hopeless.

One of the greatest activists for social change in the 20th Century, Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” But what happens when some of those children suffer from devastating childhood trauma?

A child suffering from RAD can be swept up, misdiagnosed, and thus mistreated. Worse yet, they can become part of a system that deems them irredeemable, and they end up in a cycle of neverending revolving door treatment.

Elk Mountain Girls Academy’s Approach

Here at Elk Mountain Girls Academy, we understand that RAD is a very serious condition that takes very serious attention and long-term treatment planning. The truth is that RAD is one of the more serious conditions we see here at our facility, which is why we limit our admittance to a small number of students with RAD.

At Elk Mountain Girls Academy, we do not play a “quantity over quality” game. We do the exact opposite. Our primary purpose is to help get your child the best possible help available. There is a good chance that we can provide that, but if we can’t, we will assist you in finding the place that is. To us, your children are our children, as they are God’s children.

What Is RAD?

A key term to focus on when thinking about RAD is “trauma.” This is a very trauma-focused mental health issue – one that specifically occurs in young children.

Here is the clinical definition, so we can then better break it down. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition (DSM-5), “Reactive attachment disorder is a trauma- and stressor-related condition of early childhood caused by social neglect and maltreatment. Affected children have difficulty forming emotional attachments to others, show a decreased ability to experience positive emotion, cannot seek or accept physical or emotional closeness and may react violently when held, cuddled, or comforted.”

A key component that makes RAD so complex to treat is that it forms at such a young age. The trauma occurs so early that it can create underdevelopment in certain parts of the brain.

While hearing that news may be discouraging, please don’t allow it to be. Yes, the underlying diagnosis of RAD is a deeply troubling one, because some of the physiological damage is irreversible. However, the comorbidities that often accompany RAD are very treatable, and there should be much solace taken in that.

What Are the Dangers of RAD?

Some foundational symptoms are associated with RAD. According to the DSM-5, some of these are:

  • Being emotionally withdrawn and inhibited and not being responsive to comforting
  • Demonstrating out-of-proportion reactions to normal amounts of stress
  • Showing inexplicable episodes of irritability, fearfulness, or sadness
  • Being more susceptible to other forms of mental health issues like anxiety and depression, substance use disorders (SUDs), or other mood disorders

This last set of symptoms can be most adequately focused upon and treated. When these comorbidities are treated properly, a person suffering from RAD has a much better opportunity to heal and have a positive lasting recovery.

How Exactly Does Elk Mountain Girls Academy Treat RAD?

Here at Elk Mountain Girls Academy, we take an individualized approach to all of the students who stay at our residential treatment facility. This is of course especially true with a student who is suffering from something as severe as RAD.

First off, some of these children have been through some of the worst trauma you can imagine. We want to approach them with unbounded love. We want to allow them to express themselves fully. Getting “messy” is what we call it. Many of these students have been bottling up their emotions for a very long time. We want to allow them the space to purge their feelings.

On a more specific holistic, clinical, and therapeutic basis, Elk Mountain Girls Academy has the means to treat many of the comorbidities that are associated with RAD. We can offer cognitive behavioral therapy to get to the difficult roots of the trauma. We can use more neuroscientific therapies to help the student make behavioral changes to negative stimuli. 

We also offer some of the best natural beauty in the country and equine therapy to boot. We want to bring a spiritual connection to God’s (as you may see God) world because this connection was robbed from many of them so long ago.

Why Elk Mountain Girls Academy Limits Its Admission of Students Suffering From RAD

The Book of Mathew 25.31 preaches, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers [and sisters], that you do unto me.” When we see a child struggling with RAD, we feel that struggle too.

After an assessment, if we feel that we can best accommodate a student suffering from RAD, then we will do so. However, our promise at Elk Mountain Girls Academy remains that we will do what is best for your child, whether that means the best place is at our center or another. Remember, we treat your child as we would our child, because we are all children of this planet. We are children of God.

Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a very serious mental health disorder, and it should be treated as such. RAD can occur if someone has experienced abuse or serious neglect from a caretaker. If you or someone you know feel that they are suffering, please seek help right away. RAD can compound into much more serious disorders in later life if not treated properly. Elk Mountain Girls Academy takes a minimal number of students suffering from RAD because we care about their well-being and want to ensure that they receive the care and attention that they need. However, whether we can provide help or simply a referral, Elk Mountain Girls Academy is here. For more information please contact us at (888) 403-0346.