What Attachment Style Means and What It Says About Your Mental Health

Learning your attachment style in recovery

PsychAlive, a website that publishes information related to mental health, relationships and more, explains that attachment styles refer to the particular ways that we relate to others. Our attachment style is formed when we’re very little – and as we get older, it develops and becomes the foundation of the relationships we hold over time. In addiction recovery, understanding your attachment style can provide you with a lot of insight for how you tend to navigate your relationships – and it’s something that you can strengthen and address healthily in treatment and beyond once you’re aware of your tendencies.

There are 4 main attachment styles: secure, avoidant, anxious and fearful. “Secure” attachment style means that you grew up with a parent who addressed your needs accordingly – and with a healthy foundation for a relationship, you experience healthy esteem as well. Someone with an “avoidant” attachment style was likely raised by a caregiver who didn’t always meet their needs – so they learned to depend on themselves. “Anxious” attachment styles are grounded in “mixed” signals, and “fearful” attachment styles tend to develop in a person if their caretaker was rather anxious and dismissive growing up.

A 2018 study published in the journal Psychology Bulletin found that insecure attachment styles – such as all of those listed above besides the “secure” attachment style – place a person at increased risk for substance abuse later on. 

The way we are raised by our caregivers and the dynamic of the relationship with them early on in life eventually serves as a mental “script’ for how we view ourselves and others. Over time, and even without realizing it, we may find that we are easily co-dependent on others, or perhaps we’re the complete opposite – and it’s often in recovery where we learn about how our childhood has impacted who we are today, as well as what we need to do to become healthier adults in society.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers, and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

Why is it so meaningful to give to Cumberland Heights?

Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.