What Do Attachment Styles Have to Do with Addiction? Turns Out, Plenty

Emotional attachment styles are the emotional bonds formed between an infant and caregiver. It can influence psychological, physical, and behavioral wellbeing later into life. Those who form insecure attachments are at increased risk for substance abuse, among other things. Learn more about why attachment styles are relevant and play out in addictive patterns.

Attachment Styles

Attachment in infancy affects how a person views relationships and closeness in the future. If a child develops healthy attachments as a child to a caregiver, the child is more likely to consider relationships safe, reliable, and important enough to feel secure and confident in the world around them. Healthy attachments can build:

  • Resilience
  • Adaptability
  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Empathy
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Interpersonal functioning
  • Emotional regulation
  • Stress regulation

Insecure Attachment

Children who struggle with attachment in a healthy way to a caregiver may have an over-exaggerated response to stress and be more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Further challenges from insecure attachments may include:

  • Criminal behavior
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Homelessness
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Intimacy issues
  • Addiction
  • Mental health issues

Insecure attachment styles include anxious-preoccupied, fearful-avoidant, and dismissive-avoidant. These can have detrimental effects on a person’s life and relationships.

Insecure Attachment and Addiction

Some of the correlations between insecure attachment and addiction include increased anxiety, drug use, stress-motivated substance abuse, and more. The correlation suggests people turn to drugs or alcohol in times of stress instead of confiding in a trusted loved one. Seeking treatment for addiction is beneficial as is individual and group therapy that can help mitigate negative consequences of attachment styles. Inpatient, outpatient, 12-step, and other programs are available for treatment of addiction and support reconciliation of childhood trauma, develop better self esteem, learn effective communication, and learn to experience positive relationships and attachments.

Sound Recovery helps you get present in the moment with our programs, services and resources. We are here to guide you through the steps to recovery. If you are struggling with addiction, let us help. Call us at 561-277-3088 to get started.

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