Addiction as an Attachment Disorder 1st Edition

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0765703378
ISBN-10: 0765703378
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This text excels in its discussion of how attachment theory informs the therapeutic alliance (what some would call 'professional use of self') and in explaining how and why therapy works. (PsycCRITIQUES)

At last a book has been written which brings to light what most psychotherapists and addiction counselors intuitively understand: addictive processes and attachment problems are intricately intertwined. For the addicted individual, relationships with substances supercede human relationships. Flores spells out the myriad ways in which addiction and attachment are connected, including how the two overlap at the biological, psychological, and social levels. Evolving out of this theoretical understanding, the book describes effective treatment strategies which can include 12-step programs, individual and/or group therapy. Like the best of clinical texts, this one brings abstract theoretical concepts to the experiential and practice levels. In so doing, Flores provides the reader with two books in one. He develops a general model for an attachment-based psychotherapy. Specific to the addiction field, he convincingly shows how relational problems, whether the cause or consequence of addictive behaviors, are best treated by developing the capacity for healthy interpersonal relationships. (Marilyn Freimuth, PhD, faculty member at the Fielding Graduate Institute and private practitioner in New York City)

It is indeed rare to find a thoughtful and scholarly blend of theoretical material and clinical wisdom in a single volume. Dr. Flores has integrated the critical elements of attachment and object relations theory, individual, group, and family interventions, relevant addiction research findings, and their therapeutic applications to the problem of substance abuse in a pragmatic and readibly accessible text. This unique book should be on the 'must read' list not only for mental health professionals but for anyone seeking a comprehensive understanding of contemporary therapy for addictions. (Henry I. Spitz, MD, director, Group & Family Therapy Programs, Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons)

From the Publisher

Winner of the Gradiva Award 2005.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc.; 1 edition (August 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765703378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765703378
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Luttrell on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The thesis of this book is that addiction is a disorder of an individual's ability to have healthy attachments, or primary, intimate relationships. Starting from birth, everyone needs to have two basic things for a secure attachment: a secure base and a safe haven. A secure base is a supportive relationship that gives you the security from which to explore the world and face risks. A safe haven is a supportive relationship to turn to for help when facing stress or crisis in order to manage our emotions.

When we fail to have secure relationships, we often try to find these needs in the wrong ways. We might use drugs or alcohol to manage our emotions or to give us a sense of confidence. This in turn destroys our relationships further. Thus, we have insecure attachment styles, when we are either avoidant/dismissing (counterdependent) or anxious/preoccupied or both. Dr. Flores alludes to the fact that addicts tend to be emotionally avoidant or counterdependent.

The book makes a good point that 12 step groups like AA help in fostering healthy attachments, which are important for an addict's recovery, though I felt the book was more of a promotion for Alcoholics Anonymous rather than expanding on attachment theory and how to treat addiction--it tried too hard to fit research on attachment into the 12-steps philosophy, though I do believe the 12 steps is very helpful. For example, I like the principles of surrendering control of our lives to a higher power as a way to achieve serenity and recognize that we have little control over our lives, though the book doesn't get much into that.

I like the author's point that addicts must learn they are not Gods (p. 98-99), as they have an "illusion of control." This is something I tell my clients all the time.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Marnia Robinson on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The content of this book is extremely important. Attachment is healthy, and has very real beneficial effects on our physiology and emotional health. It's a shame this book is so poorly edited and redundant - not to mention absurdly priced.

I read this book because someone mentioned it on my website's forum, which has been inundated with men desperate to recover from porn addiction. It solidly affirmed what I had noticed: Supportive contact with others is a vital part of these men's recovery, which is often long and agonizing.

Flores's experience is clearly with alcohol/drug addicts, but what he has to say is also useful for anyone hooked on porn and not happy about it. His well documented message is that humans need interaction with close, trusted companions throughout life. Alas, they can't maintain these vital connections if they are hooked on a substance or activity that produces an overwhelming neurochemical blast. The subtler rewards of relationship just can't compete, even though they offer far greater benefits. Thus, porn, like any other addiction, becomes both a false substiute for, and an obstacle to, the genuine relationships humans need to thrive.

Like it or not, we humans are ultimately more affected by our need for attachment than our need for pleasure. This is easily missed by porn users, whose brains can go out of balance, making human connection ever more challenging and unsatisfying. Symptoms include insomnia, depression, panic attacks, extreme social anxiety, irrational anger, despair, etc. (For more, see "The Road to Excess" [...].)

Flores reminds us that many such symptoms disappear when the addict addresses the addiction that is causing them. Without this key knowledge, it's easy to end up on psychotropic drugs for depression or anxiety, which don't correct the underlying need for friendly interaction.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Williams on April 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books on understanding the struggle and challenge of addiction. Behaviors will start to make sense and solutions will begin to be revealed. This book is recommended to all therapists working in the field of addictions and anyone who craves a deeper understanding of what makes people tick. R. Williams, coauthor of The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By wordsmith on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am really enjoying this book. It has a great premise of the lack of attachment as one of the causes of addiction and reasons for relapse. I would suggest this for anyone in the health care field of addiction or those dealing with it in friends and family.
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Format: Paperback
Does not believe in ADHD as a neurological disorder. Thereby winds up blaming parents for causing the severe deficits and addiction propensity of people with ADHD, further pathologizing and alienating them (really, does it sound like Allon's parents (pp. 9-11) were that bad?).

Attachment-oriented therapies can be complemented not only by abstinence-based treatment but also by medication. To do so otherwise is to reject evidence-based treatment. It's possible to be an empathetic, intuitive, creative, bonded therapist and also to have clinical diagnostic knowledge.

Flores sounds like a great therapist but he's kind of stuck in the dark ages.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Moreland on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book does an excellent job of integrating the research from many different disciplines within the field and explaining how they work together, which illuminates the problem and leads toward a workable solution. I especially enjoyed Flores' emphasis on interpersonal relationships when working with addicts.
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