What is Developmental Trauma?
In 2011, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, proposed the diagnosis of Developmental Trauma to replace Reactive Attachment Disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) published in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association, decided to continue using the RAD diagnosis along with a second diagnosis, Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder to describe one of its previously most distinguishing behaviors.
Most attachment professionals feel that Developmental Trauma more accurately describes the complex spectrum of symptoms and behaviors resulting from early childhood abuse and neglect and its use has been widely accepted. There is a wide spectrum of disorders related to disrupted attachment and trauma in infancy and early childhood. These can be the result of inadequate or abusive parenting, multiple caregivers, medical interventions or other traumas during the early critical stages of a child’s development. The impact on the brain of adverse experiences in early childhood can lead to social, emotional, cognitive, attachment and neurological challenges lasting throughout life.