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Editorial: Addiction and Attachment

Lewis, A.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-2519-7976, Unterrainer, H.F., Galbally, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-3909-1918 and Schindler, A. (2020) Editorial: Addiction and Attachment. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11 . Art. 612044.

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In the postscript to “Attachment Across the Life Cycle,” John Bowlby wrote: “Once we postulate the presence within the organism of an attachment behavioral system regarded as the product of evolution and as having protection as its biological function, many of the puzzles that have perplexed students of human relationships are found to be soluble” (1). This statement displays Bowlby's theoretical integration of evolutionary, functional, and behavioral levels of analysis, thereby giving attachment theory the ability to investigate a wide range of social and emotional relationships at both psychological and biological levels.

There is a complex interaction between a person's attachment history, the quality of early experiences, and their propensity to addictive behaviors. Clinicians and therapists working in the addiction field address this reality on a daily basis, but the research that brings precision, systematization, and the capacity to test these assumptions is only beginning to gather pace. Connecting research in the two areas of attachment and addiction can be beneficial to each; the neurobiology of basic motivational systems of social affiliation might help us understand behavioral patterns and motivations of addiction, while the biology of addiction might help us identify the evolved systems underlying attachment.

In May 2018, in the grounds of the Schloß Schönbrunn in Vienna nearly 400 delegates gathered to discuss the many facets of the relationship between attachment and addiction. Following the success of the “Sucht und Bindung” [Addiction and Attachment] conference—graciously hosted by the Grüner Kreis Society—we put out a call for papers for a Frontiers Research Topic. We were delighted to receive 22 high quality papers providing both original studies, reviews of the latest findings, theoretically oriented discussions, and applications to clinical treatments.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Frontiers
Copyright: © 2020 The Authors.
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