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Attachment Trauma

Attachment Trauma – H&S Education & Parenting

Attachment Trauma: Causes, Consequences & Treatment!

Children are delicate flowers that bloom when cared for with love & children look to their primary caregivers for a variety of human needs, from shelter to affection, it is these early life experiences that shapes their adult life, thus the relationship with their primary caregiver is among the most important for their development. However, when there is a consistent disruption in the process of normal, healthy bonding between the child and their primary caregiver, during the specific stages of a child’s development, it results in attachment trauma. The reasons could be as obvious as neglect, abuse, or less obvious such as inconsistent or unpredictable care, which can damage the child’s trust, sense of security, safety & predictability. This can then lead to a wide range of issues in the child, ranging from poor social development to issue with mental health, if left unhealed.


Causes that lead to Attachment trauma, can be divided into the obvious or less obvious, as stated below.

Some Of The Obvious Causes Include:

  • Divorce
  • Death or loss of a family member
  • Post-partum issues
  • Physical neglect such as denial of basic needs to be met
  • All forms of abuse be it physical, sexual or emotional
  • Caregiver suffering from terminal illness
  • Caregivers suffering from substance abuse
  • Domestic violence

Some Of The Less Obvious Causes Include:

  • Caregiver being physically or emotionally unavailable
  • Caregiver suffering from mental health issues, e.g. depression, that may make them less available to be present for their child
  • The caregiver has inherited trauma they haven’t processed yet and have unknowingly passed it on to their child
  • There are poor boundaries set, where the caregiver tends to treat the child more like a friend
  • Objectification of a child’s body by the primary caregiver
  • Use of psychological manipulation, e.g. making the child feel guilty, not being affectionate, shaming the child, or ignoring the child’s feelings
  • The caregiver may be overly controlling, thus removing a child’s power and individuality


Healthy attachment is extremely important for all areas of a child’s development be it mental, emotional or physical which help the child to function and form healthy relationships. Attachment trauma can this lead to the following:

  • A greater susceptibility to stress
  • Difficulty controlling emotions,
  • Dependency
  • Impulsive behaviours
  • Social isolation
  • Sleep issues
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Mental health issues e.g. dissociative disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder


Attachment trauma often doesn’t come up until a child, adolescent or adult is experiencing an emotional, psychological or behavioural issue for which he/she seeks help & it can be addressed and treated, but it is important to understand that treatment is complicated and personalized according to the extent of the trauma and its consequences. There’s a possibility of overlap between attachment trauma and other mental illness or substance abuse. Thus, treatment should address not just the trauma, for it to be effective.

The best treatment plan must involve residential care allowing the patient to have access to holistic treatments, including care for substance abuse as well as other mental illnesses, alternative therapies, healthy lifestyle management & group or family support.

Some Types Of Therapy That Can Be Used:

  • Trauma-focused therapy helps a person at any age to learn to cope with the past trauma, change certain patterns, and help overcome some of the consequences.
  • Eye movement desensitization & reprocessing is also a therapy which helps heal the patient who suffered from a traumatic experience.
  • Family support & therapy can help with coping of past trauma as well as build healthier and positive relationships.


Attachment Trauma
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