The root causes of one’s addiction can be numerous; early traumatic events, lack of self-esteem, lack of familial support, unreasonably high expectations, or untreated mental health conditions to name a few.
Commonly, the root causes are typically a combination of several factors. The most common and widely accepted contributor to addiction is the genetic predisposition and co-occurring mental health concerns. Addiction, being a maladaptive coping skill for symptoms of underlying mental health.
The physical cravings and dependence on the substance must also not be discounted as a cause. Someone that has untreated depression is not inherently an addict. If that person is also dependent on an addictive substance, then their depression may be a root cause.
Some point to sociological or environmental factors such as unstable family culture, poverty, or dangerous neighborhoods. However, as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out, Mental health and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable, and many people do recover.
Untreated mental illness can also be a root cause of an addiction, where the addiction may serve as a mean of coping or treating the mental illness. Untreated mental illness is also a risk factor for many negative health outcomes, including early death.