Attachment theory is a psychological model that explains the way in which people form and
maintain emotional bonds with others. It was first proposed by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
John Bowlby in the 1950s and has since been expanded upon by other researchers.
According to attachment theory, people develop attachment styles during childhood that shape
the way they interact with others in relationships. These attachment styles are characterized by
the way in which an individual seeks and receives comfort and support from others. There are
three primary attachment styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant.
Secure attachment is characterized by a positive view of self and others, a sense of trust in
relationships, and a willingness to seek support when needed. People with secure attachment
styles are more likely to form healthy, supportive relationships and to cope well with stress.
Anxious attachment is characterized by a negative view of self and a need for constant
reassurance and validation from others. People with anxious attachment styles may have
difficulty trusting others and may feel overly dependent on their relationships. They may also
experience high levels of anxiety and insecurity in their relationships.
Avoidant attachment is characterized by a tendency to avoid close relationships and to
suppress emotions. People with avoidant attachment styles may have difficulty forming close,
intimate relationships and may struggle to express their feelings or seek support from others.
Substance use disorders can disrupt attachment bonds and cause attachment styles to become
distorted. For example, someone with an anxious attachment style may turn to substance use
as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety and insecurity, while someone with an avoidant
attachment style may use substances as a way to numb their emotions and avoid intimacy.
Treatment for substance use disorders often involves addressing attachment-related issues.
This may include helping individuals develop healthier attachment styles, improving
communication and emotional expression, and building supportive relationships. Therapy
approaches such as attachment-based therapy and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can be
particularly helpful in addressing attachment issues in recovery.
In conclusion, attachment theory helps to explain the importance of emotional bonds in our
lives and how these bonds can be disrupted by substance use disorders. Treatment for
substance use disorders should take into account attachment-related issues in order to help
individuals develop healthier relationships and improve their overall well-being.