ArticlesAssessment and treatment of attachment disordersMinde, KlausAuthor Information Montreal Children's Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Correspondence to Klaus Minde, Montreal Children's Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, 4018 St. Catherine Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3Z 1P2, Canada Tel: +1 514 412 4449; fax: +1 514 412 4337; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2003 - Volume 16 - Issue 4 - p 377-381 doi: 10.1097/01.yco.0000079215.36371.0e Buy Metrics Abstract There is increasing evidence that some key symptoms, including excessive inhibition and indiscriminate sociability, previously thought to characterize attachment disorders lack validity. Aggression and other psychosocial difficulties also appear not to be an essential aspect of the disorder. This article summarizes current thinking on the clinical symptoms, available diagnostic tools and possible ways of treating attachment disorders. Purpose of review Ever greater numbers of abused and subsequently fostered children, as well as international adoptees, have led to an increasing interest in the clinical manifestations and treatment options for attachment disorder. Recent work has provided new insights into the natural course of this condition and has examined possible ways of moderating its effects on children and their families. This paper provides a brief overview of selected studies addressing the assessment and treatment of this condition. Recent findings Infants and toddlers raised in institutions and in neglectful homes have a high incidence of attachment disorders. There seems to be a linear relationship between length of stay in an institution and the rate of attachment disorder and other developmental abnormalities. However, while placement into an adequate home can ameliorate the cognitive and biological delays frequently associated with this condition, it does not seem to assure the development of selective attachments in these children. Furthermore, there are currently no empirical data that can substantiate a clinically effective treatment. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.