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The Cause of an Addiction Could Date Back to When We Were Just Born

The Cause of an Addiction Could Date Back to When We Were Just Born

Alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, obsessive gambling, and smoking are just a handful of addiction problems that plague our culture. There are far too many addictions to list in one article, that is how bad addiction has become today. Is it because we are more aware of addictions or is it because of something else?

Humans are born to attach. When the attachment doesn’t happen to another person, they turn to other things for that bond, which creates addiction.

Are you practicing Attachment Parenting methods so that your child is less likely to become an addict? Do you suffer from addiction that may have been caused by detached parenting? Solutions to both of these questions can be found below.

Research studies have shown that securely attached children are less likely to use drugs.

Research studies have shown that securely attached children, meaning their parents used Attachment Parenting styles (whether they know it or not) are less likely to use drugs.[1]

This research also showed that kids who did not experience attachment to a parent or caregiver because of the parenting methods used, were more likely to use drugs. It is imperative that parents, who want to keep their kids from using drugs and other adddictive behaviors, use Attachment Parenting practices.

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There is a huge population of children in our society today that are more susceptible to drug addiction. Studies such as this one discussed in Psychology Today show that as much as 40% of all children may be insecurity attached to their parent or caregiver.[2] This is scary for our society! Knowing that research shows that drug addiction is correlated with insecurely attached children, parents must be more vigilant to actively practice Attachment Parenting Methods.

How to practice Attachment Parenting to prevent addictive behaviors in your children?

Many parents practice Attachment Parenting without even knowing it. However since studies show 40% of kids are insecurely attached then more parents need to know about Attachment Parenting. Awareness about these parenting methods is key in spreading the message that our kids need Attachment Parenting to prevent drug use. There are some very practical ways that Attachment Parenting can be practiced with your young children.

This LifeHack article describes 6 ways parents can practice Attachment Parenting:

  1. Co-Sleep.
  2. Feed on Demand.
  3. Practice Empatheic Care.
  4. Be Physically Close using Touch.
  5. Be Attentive to Baby’s Needs.
  6. Show Consistent Care.

There is an entire body of research online regarding Attachment Parenting, proving it is successful in creating well adjusted children and adults. There are also entire organizations and support networks available to parents and caregivers who want to actively pursue Attachmeant Parenting.

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Here are some of those resources:

If you have an insecurely attached or detached child, you can still help him/her.

There are not many psychiatric diagnoses that apply to infants. Reactive Attachment Disorser (also known as RAD) is one that does apply to infants and is defined in the DSM-IV as a disorder in infants or children where the child is detached because of failure of the caregiver to provide adequate care and comfort during early childhood. You may be wondering what the specific criterion are for diagnosing RAD, so here they are from The Trauma Dissociation Website:[3]

    If you think your child fits the criteron for this diagnosis please seek professional help. A psychologist or psychiatrist can best help with this disorder and can even help the parent or caregiver with attachment methods. It is better to catch this disorder while they are young, as by the time they are six years old it becomes harder to identify this diagnosis, as it manifests in other manners.

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    One major way is RAD manifests itself as a person gets older is through addiction.

    If you think you have an addiction caused by detached parenting, don’t be afraid to seek for help.

    You can’t go on blaming your parents for your problems your whole life. Eventually you have to accept responsibility for your future. Take responsibility for your addiction by being solution oriented to kick the addiction. The first step to addiction recovery is admitting you have a problem. The next step is to get help.

    Research has shown that the best treatment for addiction is group therapy, as so many addictions are related to failure to attach to people.[4]

    Group therapy provides an outlet for healing and attachment at the same time. In order to be successful in the recovery process you need to make yourself vulnerable by sharing. This vulnerability is what helps you bond to others in the group.

    By utilizing group therapy methods and understanding that there is an underlying cause to the addiction makes therapy much more hopeful. The label of alcoholism as “a disease” makes it seem as though it can be incurable. It is curable, and there are root causes. Failure of Attachment (or undiagnosed RAD) in the early years of life is one cause. Researchers who examined this topic of substance abuse stated the following:[5]

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    Attachment theory–based clinical treatment of this disorder could both diminish symptoms and cure the incurable.

    Most group methods utilize attachment methods, as they are encouraging group interactions and bonding through group share. If you think your addiction is related to early childhood lack on attachment or RAD then you will find group therapy helpful to your healing.

    Here are some resources for finding Groups that help with addiction:

    Featured photo credit: Stock Snap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    More by this author

    Dr. Magdalena Battles

    A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault

    How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again How to Raise a Boy Right (Backed by Psychology) How to Help Your Child with Behavior Problems How to Be a Good Parent and Raise Successful Kids 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success

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    Last Updated on October 30, 2019

    How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

    How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

    Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

    In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

    Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

    You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

    What is the Stages of Change Model?

    Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

    Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

    Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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      The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

      The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

      The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

      The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

      1. Precontemplation
      2. Contemplation
      3. Determination
      4. Action
      5. Maintenance
      6. Termination

      How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

      To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

        Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

        Stage 1: Precontemplation

        At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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        For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

        Stage 2: Contemplation

        At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

        You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

        The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

        Stage 3: Preparation

        At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

        Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

        Stage 4: Action

        When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

        Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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        Stage 5: Maintenance

        After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

        Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

        Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

        Stage 6: Termination

        Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

        However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

        How long does each stage take?

        You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

        So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

        The limitations of this model

        The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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        Require the ability to set a realistic goal

        For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

        If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

        Difficult to judge your progress

        The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

        Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

        Conclusion

        The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

        While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

        Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
        [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
        [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
        [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
        [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
        [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
        [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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