A Crash Course on Attachment, Trauma, and Addiction

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

We're going to take a close look at the link between childhood attachment trauma and addiction. Is it all your mother's fault? Or, was it that first toxic boyfriend/girlfriend?

The question posed above is tongue-in-cheek, but it touches upon an important debate in psychology—what influences children to turn out the way they do? What affects their ability to form meaningful, satisfying relationships with those around them? And what does love have to do with addiction?

There are four primary attachment styles and understanding each category, helps us to understand ourselves and the people around us.

Secure Attachment

Approximately sixty percent of people have a secure attachment style. Really, from the time infants are six months to two years of age, they form an emotional attachment to an adult who is attuned to them and feel secure with.

Anxious/Preoccupied Attachment

Those with having insecurity about having their needs met consistently can lead to clinginess and fear when their caregiver is out of sight. Adults often have an intense need for close relationships, intimacy in romantic relationships and approval.

Avoidant/Fearful Attachment

Those that grew up in a household where they felt like they couldn't necessarily rely on their parents or caregiver to meet all of their needs. As kids, they detached from their feelings during times of trauma, as adults, they continue to be somewhat detached from themselves.

Disorganized(Anxious+Avoidant) Attachment

This style is a combination of Avoidant and Anxious attachment. The person wants the closeness in their relationship(s), but too much and they'll pull away and disengage. This can become very difficult in relationships.

The association between attachment style and substance use isn’t clear, research suggests those with an insecure attachment style may use drugs or alcohol to cope with stress rather than other healthy coping mechanisms, such as confiding in a loved one.

Download a FREE cheatsheet for the 4 Primary Attachment Styles: https://hopeforfamilies.lpages.co/attachment-styles-cheat-sheet

For more information on this topic...Check out this book by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. It's packed with useful information and extremely easy to read.

It also has quizzes you can take to identify your attachment style. https://amzn.to/33R6I0h

Amber Hollingsworth,

Hope for Families Recovery Center

If you want to know how childhood attachments are formed and how that can set us up for addiction, watch this video next.

(click the picture below)

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