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Attachment, Substance Use, Pregnancy and Neurobiology

Joanna E. Chambers M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr. Chambers is an expert in services to, and research with, postpartum mothers and their children where opioid use has been indicated. Her research shows how attachment and substance use are related from a neurobiological standpoint. It also shines light on why, from an attachment perspective, the opioid epidemic is especially complicated. Particularly given how many child welfare systems around the country respond to pregnant mothers with opioid use disorder.

Through her work in two Central Indiana clinics, Dr. Chambers has seen the benefits of keeping mothers and newborns together – for both the mother and child. She has also studied the services that are sometimes required to keep mom and baby together safely. Despite the many challenges, there is good news from a neurobiological perspective if interventions and services are responsive to what science is telling us.

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