Well, Pseudo means false or fake. A false attachment would be, in the case of dealing with addiction, a drug or other substance used to replace an attachment the addict had with something or someone else in the past. Now that they have reverted to this addiction as an attachment instead of what was lost, this is now called a Pseudo Attachment or “false attachment” because it is not really the thing that the person wants to be attached to, but is a false misrepresentation of whatever they were attached to. This can be as common as losing a loved one in death, a marriage or relationship breakup, or worse yet one might be going from substance to yet a worse substance to fill the void.
Moment of Recognition of Addiction
Individuals have recognized the moment they knew they were addicted from experiencing a frightening situation, either physically or with others and still wanting to return to the substance. The dependence and the incessant need for the substance was more pressing than feeling extremely ill or facing legal consequences. The level of dependence demonstrates the need for the substance beyond just the physical addiction that opposes many current theories and writings on addiction. If the physical feeling were the main or only component compelling the addiction to continue, then it would follow that if the physical experienced changed, the desire for the substance would also be affected and lessened.
Many believe individuals chase the original feeling they experienced of relief or comfort from their first moment of finding their substance of choice. It appears the original feeling may be less about the physical and more about experiencing a feeling of comfort or relief that had been missing and part of the void in their emotional make-up. Although the physical feeling is an important component in understanding addiction, the pseudo attachment sensation may be the stronger need that is met upon use, especially the first time using their drug of choice. The need for the emotional comfort that had been missing, appears to have influenced the individuals to ignore extreme consequences for their using of substances, not to regain a physical relief but to maintain the relationship with the substance that filled a void that had not been filled in any other way previously in their lives. The desperation to fill the attachment-similar feeling drove each of them to continue with substances, regardless of the impact on other aspects of their lives.
The need for a safe haven and attachment connection is biological as discovered in the research (Kobak, 1999, Siegel, 2012, Schindler, Thomasius, Sack et al., 2009). When individuals are left without a safe haven or emotionally available attachment figure, a void is created which becomes part of the child’s sense of self. The void impacts self-esteem, sense of safety and creates a longing for sensations that were not provided during infancy and development. The longing for a sensation that is created by connection and right -brain to right -brain communication with the caregiver becomes a dangerous opening for other means to fill the void. (Schore, 2003a, 2003b). The child learns that the primary caregiver is unable to fill the void, lowering their expectations that others may provide a safe haven, leaving individuals to be less likely to form connective relationships. The void is still present and does not dissipate creating the need for something to fulfill the early attachment need, preferably not through a human connection.
Substances, especially opioids, create a similar feeling to attachment as the opioids hit similar receptors in the brain as early attachment secure bonds. As the substances are safer in terms of availability and consistency, the need and use of substances becomes addictive. The feeling or void that was left empty due to primary relationships is now filled with a substance that is available as long as individuals find others with similar needs or have financial resources. Individuals who struggle with addiction begin filling the void at an exponentially increasing rate in an attempt to fill the void and make up for the years of feeling empty, becoming the difference between someone who experiments with substances to someone who becomes addicted. The addiction is increased by the addictive physical properties besides the dependence on the feeling that the individual had longed for over the years. The disbelief that a human relationship could create such a feeling further leaves the individual unwilling to part with the feeling created by the substance as a replacement.
What This Means for You
If you suspect yourself or a loved one of falling victim to this issue, there are some things you may want to think about. Is the person, job, substance, comfort food, etc. worth potential irreversible damage to your body, reputation or career? Or would your loved one that you lost want you to live this life knowing the harm it will cause you? These things are of course all circumstantial. However, one constant remains. This WILL ruin your life; are you willing to sacrifice all of it for this reason?
Although this is food for thought, it may be easier said than done. Perhaps this Pseudo Attachment focal point is long since out of the picture? However, now you find yourself addicted to a substance that could potentially ruin the life you have left. Behavioral Therapy is one way to treat the issue. A lot of it, you’ll find, is psychological. You think of this attachment, for example, and you reach for a glass of alcohol. Now you are addicted to alcohol! Did you want to be an alcoholic? No! No one wakes up one morning and says, “Hey, I think I’m going to become an alcoholic!” That’s not how it works, does it? Certain things that happen to us during our lives cause us psychological harm. Dependency can ensue. As much as we are masters over our own body, at the same time we are not. But there are things we can do to correct ourselves along the way. This is where Phoenix Rising Orange County can help.
A Commitment to Excellence
Pseudo Attachment can be difficult to diagnose. Our team of specialists, physicians, psychologists and therapists have many decades of experience with Pseudo Attachment and can help you get the treatment you need to get your life back and on the road to recovery. Our offices are conveniently located in Orange County, CA near Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Laguna, Lake Forest, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano. Our team specializes in many forms of therapy, including Pseudo Attachment. All of us, young or old, need course correction every so often. We need to be ‘recalibrated’, so to speak. Think of this as your opportunity to start fresh, with a free mind and a strut in your step, instead of a gimp. We hope you’ll join us on the road to recovery!
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