Is There A Connection Between Attachment Theory and Addiction?

Is There A Connection Between Attachment Theory and Addiction?

There are many lenses through which addiction can be analyzed. Much like a news reporter would write an article or form the headline for their cover story, we can explore different ways of looking at addiction to make better sense of it. Attachment theory refers to the type of connection that infants have to their caretakers. As a person gets older, the level of intimacy and the way they generally connect with others in romantic relationships is said to provide a clearer understanding for the connection they had with their caretaker growing up. There are several attachment styles that this theory suggests, such as:

·    Anxious-preoccupied – requires high levels of approval and intimacy

·    Fearful-avoidant – wants a closer relationship, but isn’t comfortable with intimacy

·    Dismissive-avoidant – extremely independent and doesn’t desire closeness with others

These ones in particular are all insecure attachment styles, and, as the theory suggests, can lead a person to exhibit unhealthy behaviors later on in life – such as substance abuse. In 2014, researchers published a study in the journal Alcoholism and Drug Addiction that sought to explore whether or not attachment styles were linked to addiction in any way. A total of 94 individuals with alcoholism participated in the study, along with 94 individuals who did not have alcoholism. What the researchers found was that those with alcoholism were more likely to have a general distrust of others, with anxiety and avoidance being the most prominent of the insecure attachment styles.

A theory isn’t conclusive, however, and what makes sense for one person may not make sense for another. Theories provide us with a unique approach to gain further understanding on a particular subject, and it’s quite possible that for some people, the connection they had with their caretaker growing up affected the way they viewed substances – either in a direct or indirect way.

If you’re currently battling substance abuse, speak with someone from a reputable treatment center today. It’s time to focus on your recovery, for your mind, body, and spirit.

The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.

Saving Lives; Healing Families.


Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.