Theoretical Basis of Addiction Psychology: Trauma and Addictions



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

The aim of the course is two-fold; (1) first, it deals with attachment trauma (neglect and abuse) in the background of various addiction problems, (2) second, out of the possible responses given to traumas it investigates substance use as a maladaptive response. Regarding the second issue, research results on the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use will be discussed in the frame of current PTSD models. In order to understand the
relationship between attachment traumas and addiction problems the biological and psychological effects of trauma will be examined and results of those longitudinal studies will also be reviewed which highlight long-term effects. In addition, prevention and intervention strategies possibly preventing effects of attachment traumas will also be addressed. In connection with this, the topic of resilience and relevant knowledge on posttraumatic growth will also be discussed.

  • McLaughlin, K. A., Sheridan, M. A., & Lambert, H. K. (2014). Childhood adversity and neural development: Deprivation and threat as distinct dimensions of early experience. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 47, 578-591.
  • Rutter, M., Sonuga-Barke, E. J. S., & Castle, J. (2010). I. Investigatong the impact of early institutional deprivation on development: background and research stratgey of the english romanian adoptees (ERA) study. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 75(1), 1-20.
  • Foa, E., Huppert, J., & Cahill, S. (2006). Emotional processing theory. An update. In B. Rothbaum (Ed.), Pathological anxiety: Emotional processing in etiology and treatment (pp. 3-24). New York: The Guilford Press.