It is well recognized now that the quality of attachment an individual has with his or her parents in early childhood determines how well that child will thrive. Early attachment is a core issue that has great influence on one’s mental health throughout life.
For instance, the first five years of life determines the success of that child in school, work, and in relationships. Those children who have had secure parental attachments are well equipped to go out into the world and are able to succeed. Those with poor attachments to their caregivers, due to trauma, neglect, or abandonment, will likely be anxious, fearful, and withdrawn. These children may be more vulnerable to developing an alcohol or drug addiction. Those who experience high levels of stress and anxiety will tend to self-medicate with drugs, sex, gambling, alcohol, or other types of addiction. Essentially, the child with a poor attachment with his or her caregiver may later use drugs as a way to manage the anxiety or other intense emotions and perhaps even develop a life-long struggle with addiction. And they may eventually find themselves in drug detox and substance abuse treatment facilities.