How Can Attachment Issues Contribute to Addiction

While social and learning disabilities can exist throughout the life of the child; physical and mental health problems may develop in adulthood.
Attachment bonds are as unique we are.

Although primary caretakers do not have to be perfect; it helps if they are emotionally available a majority of the time.  They do not have to always be in tune with their infant’s emotions; but their physical and emotional availability is what helps to foster the first healthy attachment in their child.  With a secure attachment bond, the stage is set for a child to feel safe; to develop meaningful connections with others; to explore their world in a healthy manner; to properly deal with stress and to balance their emotions.  This healthy bond also allows the child to better experience comfort and security, while creating positive memories and developing healthy expectations from other relationships.

Feelings of insecurity, anxiety, fear and isolation can be by-products of unhealthy attachment bonds.  These feelings of separation can take root in the infant or young child, leaving them with insufficient feelings of structure, and a lack of recognition, understanding and safety.  When a parent is emotionally unavailable, children can easily get lost in their own inner world.  They often find it difficult to develop close, emotional connections.  As adults, they can exhibit as physically and emotionally distant in all of their relationships.

These feelings of separation and aloneness can be the feeding grounds for the isolated personality to resort to self-medication through drugs or alcohol.  Although they suffer from an inability to feel any real emotional closeness with others; through the use of drugs or alcohol they discover an unhealthy vehicle for relating with those around them.  What begins as a means of expression and communication with their peers can soon develop into an unhealthy dependence on the very chemicals which fostered those false moments of bonding.

The adult – who suffers from attachment issues due to their need for emotional closeness going unfulfilled as a child – or the one who suffers from disorientation or terror due to a parent’s behavior – often turns to self-medication with drugs or alcohol to relieve their pain.  This deficit in loving and nurturing from the primary caregivers of a child often exhibits in the adult as an inability to love easily and an insensitivity to the needs of a partner.  While social and learning disabilities can exist throughout the life of the child; physical and mental health problems may develop in adulthood.

The physical abuse or neglect and/or emotional abuse or neglect that was the mainstay of a child’s upbringing, can directly trigger their forage into the world of alcohol or drugs as adults.  Often the child has suffered sexual abuse or a heartbreaking separation from their primary caregiver due to illness, death, divorce or adoption.  All are found to be factors that often lead the teen or adult seeking escape through substance abuse.

With proper counseling and help developing new coping patterns, the addicted adult can discover a new, healthy way to deal with his or her world.  The appropriate treatment center for drug or alcohol abuse will offer experienced and accredited counseling staff to help the adult best deal with the attachment bond issues experienced as a child.

Distributed by Client Initiatives

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