The Surprising Cause Of Addiction

Have you ever wondered what causes addiction?

Does it seem sometimes that all around us is one form of addiction or another? Entertainment, shopping, work, the internet, sex, food, drugs, alcohol?

The Cause Of Addiction

Stress and addiction are actually “cause and effect” according to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga. His thinking is explained in Natural Awakenings, Healing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist

According to Yogi Desai in this article, “Addictions are antidotes that provide a temporary escape from the stress-producing, conflict-creating reactions you have about what you are doing, where you are going and who you are with. Addiction, which is only an effect, occurs when you continue to use inappropriate external resources to reduce stress and restore a sense of balance while failing to resolve the cause of the stress hidden in the unconscious.”

The first question this raises is:

  • why does anyone need an antidote to a reaction?
  • are some reactions OK and others not?

Have you ever noticed when your feelings and reactions are “corrected” by other people and how that feels?  and what is your reaction to that experience?

Problems with reactions and the need to escape them come from a conflict we are unable to resolve. Usually, the seeds of addiction are created when we are children.  As children, we are stuck not only physically but also emotionally as well. We have to survive in the environment into which we are born. It is that natural need to survive that can get us in trouble because we sometimes have to live with compromises to our worth and dignity that we do not want or deserve.

Unfortunately, the seeds of addiction can happen innocently. If, as a child, someone were to step on your foot, and you were told not to cry, that the hurt is really not so bad, you would likely feel awful from the hurt foot, awful that your hurt was not acknowledged, bad for crying, and confused by the reaction to what seems obvious to you: you needed help and healing.  The seeds of addiction have just been planted when the child has to reject his or her natural feelings to be accepted by parents and family.

The seeds of addiction can be magnified in a situation of extreme abuse where the child experiences both abuse and denial of the abuse. Often the child must act with affection and gratitude to their abuser, which causes their feelings of conflict intensify. Add the natural pain of the child and the thwarting of the natural inclination to love that an abusive situation creates, and you have a serious emotional mess!

This mess if it is allowed to exist over a long period of time results in disabling and creates damaging, conflicting emotions that can result in extreme and maybe permanent damage to that individual’s integrity and ability to self-regulate.

People who suffer from addictions deserve compassion.  Highly sensitive people are particularly vulnerable in abusive situations because they feel the constant negative energies around them and they heal slowly.  It is difficult to be stoic and be a highly sensitive person.

There are any number of solutions and paths to healing the conditions and causes of addiction.  They include therapy that validates feelings, and alternative health practices like meditation, eft, and reiki that help release frozen, painful energy in the body.

Healing from addictions and child abuse can be a lengthy process because you have to reverse the long process of devaluation that created the problem in the first place. Sensitive people often experience devaluation because of their sensitivity so abuse can add an additional experience of devaluation making healing even more challenging.

One of the bravest actions a highly sensitive person can take is to decide to be an advocate for themselves and get the help they need so that they can have some quality of life.

About Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution. She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World. In addition, she has created the immersive Emerging Sensitive Program using cultural and personal development frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. She also offers The Magic Of Joy program for quantum healing and the Emerging Sensitive Community focused on living in the world as a sensitive person and navigating the challenging cultural shifts of our times. She is a longtime meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is a Certified Theta Healer and certified in Spiral Dynamics. She is an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.


  1. Nicholas Cordovano on February 9, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Why didn’t I hear about this when it was realized? I am a bit disappointed in myself for not knowing about it sooner, but better now than never….acrually, it really couldn’t have come at a better time. I am a 50yr old adopted, ex-drug addict and alcoholic who now works with helping those with severe mental illness live as normal a life as possible. I was a funeral director for over 20 years in family business. The choices to do what I wanted in life were taken away by my father. Always told I couldn’t show my strong emotions, so I did what any kid in my shoes might do…I shoved them down so deep because I would get beat if I didn’t. Drugs were an escape. 9-11 really screwed with me. I had to go to the city to help look for survivors……it was the most awful, hideous scene and it messes with my head frequently. The good thing is I found this information which is who I am……..thank you for your wonderful work and for publishing this article!!!!

    • Maria Hill on February 9, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Nicholas,

      Thank you for writing. Addiction is rampant in our world. I cannot imagine the pain of having to deal so directly with the deaths created by the 9-11 attack. That you have come through a difficult family situation and the 9-11 experience is wonderful. You have to be a strong and determined person to do so. Reclaiming your feelings is the pathway to your authenticity and so they are worth working with. There is a great depth psychologist, Bill Plotkin, who has written the books, Wild Mind, Nature and the Soul and Soulcraft. I think there are many wonderful insights and ideas in these books that can help lead you further to the joyful life you deserve. And thank you for the feedback about my work.

      All the best,