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From the moment a baby comes into the world, forming attachments to parents or other caregivers is critical to a child’s emotional, physical and psychological development. For an infant, having a gentle and responsive caregiver provides the nurturing a child needs to grow into a healthy adult. A cared for child develops self-esteem, feels secure in exploring the world around him or her and has a strong foundation for understanding how to build healthy relationships later in life.
But if those earliest relationships break down, the child may experience what is known as abandonment or neglect trauma. Mental health issues, substance abuse or the physical absence of parents or caregivers due to death or divorce can all contribute to abandonment trauma, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of abandonment.
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