The roots of most addictive behaviors have to do with unresolved childhood trauma. People become dependent (or addicted) to substances or behaviors because they learned to turn to them in early life as a way of coping.
I’m citing a couple of great (and brief) articles about childhood trauma, to give you some background on this topic. First, there is a great article on the Uplift Program website about childhood trauma. Included in the article is a great definition, from a 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report. They define childhood trauma as “a repeated pattern of damaging interactions between parent(s) [or, presumably, other significant adults] and child that becomes typical of the relationship.”
Here are some quotes from the article:
“Nearly every researcher agrees that early childhood traumas (i.e. those that happen before the age of six) lie at the root of most long-term depression and anxiety, and many emotional and psychological illnesses. Severe traumas can even alter the very chemistry and physiology of the brain itself! Among mental health professionals, and even some childhood development specialists, there is sometimes a lack of understanding over exactly what constitutes childhood trauma.