DISINHIBITED SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT DISORDER
What if your child or a child you know gets on in a car with a stranger? Does that make sense?
Yes, it does. That particular disorder is known as ‘Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED)’. Let’s dive into the article to see what’s this.
WHAT IS DSED?
Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder is a condition when a child is found to be over-friendly & outgoing with unfamiliar adults. These children won’t ensure their safety with their caregivers while they are approaching strangers. And that marks the difference between normally exploring and abnormally seeking behaviors.
“DSED is just a reflection of unmet care”
FOUNDATION OF DSED
Based on keen observations & analyses, the major cause for Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder is the lack of special care by the primary care-givers. In simple terms, it’s the negligence of the caregivers towards the child during the first few years of birth which leads to tremendous future concerns.
Although the negligence issues get dissolved with years, the impact during the critical period I.e., the first few years gets carried away all along the child’s way to adulthood. This lack of special bonding reduces the child’s ability to differentiate between real care and superficial attention. This deep craving gets buried into the young minds that they start striving for it in the way of peculiar engagement with any passerby.
The reasons for the failure in forming a secure bond between the child and the caregiver may range from,
- Developing in an institutional or unusual rearing-setting (Ex: Orphanages, etc.) where the child lacks the attachment to a general caregiver.
- Changing primary caregivers where the child falls short in time to make a significant bond with the caregiver.
- Negligence from main caregivers where the child develops a sense of insecurity.
- Failing to meet the child’s basic emotional needs where the child is not given a chance to develop a trustworthy relationship with the caregiver.
There can be many situations which could potentially add up to the consequence of DSED.
“Every effect have a cause & so the disorders”
HOW TO IDENTIFY DSED
To recognize a child with DSED, it is necessary to witness at least any two of the following behaviors.
- The child gets high excitement when getting along with strangers and is always curious beyond limits to engage with unfamiliar persons, especially adults.
- The child doesn’t check with their primary caregiver when approaching any stranger.
- The child is always ready to leave a safe place to explore into an unknown or even dangerous place with strangers.
- They don’t have a healthy fear of strangers and they lack to ensure their safety when nearing unfamiliar persons.
- They barely can differentiate between safe/ kind and unsafe/ weird faces.
- They always tend to seek attention in a surrounding from outsiders (Ex: Shouting out loud in a playground to seek attention from unknowns).
These are the most common symptoms exhibited by the children with Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.
“Amiable with strangers differs from unreasonably attached with them”
WHAT TO DO IF ANY 2 OF THESE SYMPTOMS ARE IDENTIFIED
If any two of the above-mentioned symptoms are identified in a child then it is preferable to consult a mental health professional or a licensed therapist. Given that this disorder won’t dissolve on its own, consulting a therapist as earlier as possible is suggested.
The therapist may call for some successive sessions to observe and confirm with Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder. It might take at least 6-12 months of observation to confirm DSED as the symptoms are also associated with other types of disorders such as ADHD, Impulse control problems, reactive attachment disorder, etc. The past of the child and the present state of the child are both analyzed along with the family members or caregivers.
“Not only your physic but also your psyche is worth your care”
THE WAY TO GET BETTER
The treatment approach involves two aspects,
- Giving psychotherapy to the child and their primary caregivers.
- Enhancing the emotional attachment between the child & the caregiver.
It may take time depending on the person’s ability, the impact of trauma, intensity of the disorder, the present situations, etc. The treatment plan will be highly individualized which ensures the effectiveness of the therapy. Over time, significant improvement can be evident from the child if provided with all the treatment aids.
“All that needs is a little more care”
POSSIBILITY OF RECOVERY
All the individuals who had a traumatic childhood or experiences of negligence during infancy don’t develop any attachment disorders such as Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder. They are just highly vulnerable for developing DSED and of course, it’s not a must. Research done on the same showed that 20℅ of the vulnerable kids has diagnosed to have Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder which means most of the susceptible children with trauma or experiences of neglect had developed into healthy adults with relatively lasting relationships as they grew up.
Nonetheless, with the timely and proper treatment course children with Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder can also exhibit improvised state in terms of behaviours and mental health.
“Earlier the intervention – effective is the recovery”
For your reference, the Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder can be inferred from the world-famous cartoon character – Shinchan. If you have watched that cartoon series, you would have noticed how he easily approaches any stranger without ensuring his security with his caregivers, that is parents. Still, he is the one who can make anyone laugh without hesitation.