Treatment has two parts. The first priority is to make sure the child is currently in a safe environment where emotional and physical needs are met.
Once that has been established, the next step is to change the relationship between the caregiver and the child, if the caregiver has caused the problem. Parenting skills classes can help with this. These skills give the caregiver the ability to meet the child's needs and help them bond with the child.
The caregiver should also have counseling to work on any current problems, such as drug abuse or family violence. Social Services should follow the family to make sure the child remains in a safe, stable environment.
Parents who adopt babies or young children from foreign orphanages should be aware that this condition may occur and be sensitive to the child's need for consistency, physical affection, and love.
These children may be frightened of people and find physical affection overwhelming at first, and parents should try not to see this as rejection. It is a normal response in someone who has been abused to avoid contact. Hugs should be offered frequently, but not forced.
A mental health evaluation should be completed. This evaluation will be helpful in developing a treatment plan.