Guest Post for National Adoption Awareness Month:
Understanding Addiction in Adoptive Families

I had the honor of contributing a guest post t0 the National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM) discussion at Amber Moore Jimerson‘s blog We are What We Believe We Are.  Amber is a birth mother in a semi-open adoption who grew up in an NPE now post-reunion.

Here is Amber’s introduction:

When I think about aspects of adoption that are in need of awareness, one that comes to mind is the increased prevalence of addiction among adoptees as compared to the general population. While most adoptees statistically do not develop an addition, certain risk factors contribute to the likelihood of substance use and abuse in adoptees. Though it’s more widely expected that addiction would come from biological risk factors, and that is an element to be considered, what is not as understood is the link between attachment and adoption:

“Data suggest that early stress and traumatic attachment experiences may hinder the development of the endogenous oxytocinergic attachment & human development system, increasing vulnerability to future addictive behaviors” (Alvarez-Monjaras et al., 2019, p. 625 626).

In light of this, the increased risk in adoption for addiction may not only come from inherited biological factors from family members, but also the act of early separation and attachment injury itself which primes the brain for addictive behaviors, whether with substances or otherwise.

Read the remainder of Understanding Addiction in Adoptive Families here.

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