How Early Childhood Behavior Contributes to Adult Addictive Tendencies



Many studies have been conducted on what really causes addiction, or if it is truly a matter of nature versus nurture. Some studies show that there are certain behaviors in early childhood that serve as markers for future patterns for addictive behavior.


Here are possible early signs of addictive behavior, which can be exhibited by children by as early as 3 years old:

Risk-Taking Behavior

Toddlers can exhibit risk-taking behavior which studies say may become an early sign of future addictive behavior. Children who often deliberately climb much higher, wants to run faster, and engages in rather dangerous or harmful physical activities that other children their age may usually hesitate to do.

As they get older, these children may welcome danger through riding their bikes or skating in dangerous heights or terrain, get into pranks that get them into injuries, getting reckless with friends, or deliberately damaging properties, may become signs of early addictive behavior. They are not afraid of any perceived danger, injury, or brush with authority. In fact, they may even welcome it.

These risky behaviors give them a certain sense of enjoyment, even a “high” due to the adrenaline rush it gives. They may continually or regularly seek this feeling, wanting or even needing to experience it again and again. This kind of behavior, as studies say, make it a huge risk factor for future addictions.

Experimenting with Substance Abuse

Children who experiment with alcohol and drugs from as young as 9 to 12 years old are more likely to have addiction tendencies going into their adult lives. These children may go beyond curiosity, peer pressure, and experimentation to real addiction. To help curb these tendencies, researches have found that behavior modification practices need to be introduced to these children who show high adult addiction tendencies.


Having someone in the family who has an addiction may also be an indicator of a genetic predisposition towards addiction at some point in life.

Childhood trauma or abuse

Children who are exposed to abuse or a jarring event have a higher tendency towards addiction later in life. Death of a family member, parents’ divorce or separation, child abuse, and other similarly impactful events may lead to children wanting to cope and are more susceptible to inappropriate behavior that leads to substance abuse.

All these said, addiction can still come to anyone, regardless of demographics. It crosses cultures, countries, ages, religion, and socioeconomic status.

It is important to understand that addiction is a disease, something out of their control. It is not a character flaw or weakness that they can change if they just “put their mind into it.” The early childhood indicators stated above can help people understand some of the roots of this complex disease and help parents–and society–deal with children who have these addiction tendency signs.

If you, or someone you love, is addicted to drugs or any other substances, call us NOW:

+63 915 645 2703 / +63 917 509 8826

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