Products Associated With The 10 Most Common Addictions

Products Associated With The 10 Most Common Addictions

Whenever there is a discussion about addiction it most often centers on dangerous drugs and illegal substances. While this correlation is not false, addiction also encompasses a wide variety of other substances that have less regulation than drugs, and more importantly, specific behavioral patterns that are more common than most realize. Some of the most common addictions in the US are more dangerous than others. 

10 Most Common Addictions in the US

1. Tobacco

Tobacco products of course have an addictive ingredient in nicotine. Nicotine in Tobacco is listed as one the most common addictions in the US. This substance is the leading cause for preventable deaths, causing 7 million each year worldwide. Two of the main factors behind tobacco’s wide distribution high reach are that it is legal everywhere and has mild side effects. These factors give people a false sense of security that tobacco is nowhere as dangerous as other substances. However, the effects can grow worse over time, and by then, most users develop an addiction.

Easily-accessible tobacco products include:

  • Cigars
  • Cigarettes
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Waterpipes

Tobacco leaves

2. Alcohol

The addiction to alcohol is also widespread due to the normalization of its consumption within most societies. Alcohol is legal, sometimes a key part of social functions, and relatively cheap to obtain compared to other addictive substances. Because of this, alcohol is responsible for 2.5 million deaths annually worldwide. Yet, alcohol abuse leads to at least 60 different types of diseases and injuries. Some of these conditions include:

  • Liver diseases
  • Colon cancers
  • Violence and related injuries
  • Drunk driving and related injuries


3. Marijuana

Due to the relatively-harmless effects of marijuana in comparison to other substances, as well as its healing and pain-relieving effects, this substance enjoys growing legalization and acceptance. Still, marijuana addiction remains high, with the growing potency of the drug, between 50 to 80% THC, thought to be a main factor behind the growing addiction rates.

Despite marijuana’s relative safety, the addiction still has some negative effects, such as:

  • Cognitive development impairment
  • Physical performance impairment
  • Memory damage
  • Sleep disruption
  • Schizophrenia increase
  • Mood disorders

cannabis leaves

4. Painkillers And Opioids

Physicians sometimes prescribe painkiller medications to help their patients cope with intense pain from injuries and often cancer. Despite the legal status of these opioids, they are a leading cause of addiction and addiction-related deaths, especially in the United States. During 2015, at least two million Americans with addiction issues listed painkillers as their main addiction, and painkillers were the cause of at least 20,101 overdose deaths.

Some common painkiller medications, all falling into the opioid category include:

  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • OxyContin
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Demerol

opium poppy

5. Cocaine

Cocaine is one of the least accessible addictive substances due to its illegal status and its relative expense, despite some minor medical use as an anesthetic. The rates of cocaine addiction have been dropping compared to previous years. However, that decrease is gradual, and as of 2014, around 1.5 million people in the United States are addicted to cocaine.

To make more money on less product, drug dealers create a cheap mix of base form cocaine, talcum powder, cornstarch, or flour. They also use a mix of other drugs such as opioids or amphetamine to increase the effect, which is particularly dangerous to unaware users. Another prominent and cheap type of cocaine is crack cocaine, which is the crystalized base form of the substance.

Coca leaves

6. Heroin

Heroin has some of the worst addiction and withdrawal effects on a user. Even a single dose can create an addiction, and it requires a detailed treatment of medication and therapy to slowly help the patient overcome cravings and successfully avoid relapse. Heroin leads to several health problems, such as:

  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Bacterial infections of heart and blood vessels
  • Lung disease
  • HIV and Hepatitis B and C via needle sharing

Despite the strong effects of heroin, its use is increasing. In the United States, approximately 494,000 people reported being addicted to heroin in 2017. One potential factor for high heroin addiction rates is the use of other opioids, such as painkiller medications, as a gateway.

heroin poppy

7. Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a range of medications prescribed primarily to deal with anxiety, stress, and seizures. To treat these conditions, these drugs reduce the activity of the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain that control communication between nerves. Because of the brain chemistry involved, benzodiazepines are particularly addictive and dangerous, especially when combined with opioids. For instance, in 2015, 23% of opioid deaths also had links to benzodiazepines.

Some of the most common benzodiazepines found in U.S. pharmacies include:

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Librium
  • Tranxene

benzo lab

8. Stimulants

Stimulant drugs are range across the spectrum of legality, from illegal stimulants such as meth and ecstasy, to legal prescription drugs that include Ritalin, Adderall, and other ADHD drugs. Stimulants are addictive because they provide the user’s body with a burst of energy or rush that allows them to push their bodies. This euphoric feeling makes addiction recovery difficult and painful. For instance, the use of amphetamines in the United States reached up to 535,000 people in 2012. The difficulty of withdrawal, the highly addictive nature, and the prevalent use of legal stimulants keep their use high.

meth lab

9. Inhalants

What makes inhalants particularly dangerous is that people often consume them from household products and other substances with legitimate uses. One can find inhalants in common products including:

  • Household cleaning products
  • Aerosols
  • Gasoline
  • Paints and markers
  • Glues
  • Prescription medicines (nitrites)

Most of these products have psycho-active agents that alter the user’s mind, often leading to addictive euphoria and side effects, mostly damage to the brain, liver, and nervous system. Due to easy accessibility and lack of regulation, older children and teenagers have the highest abuse rates, with 2015 having 684,000 people between the ages of 12 to 17, out of the total of 1.8 million people who admitted to inhalant use.


10. Sedatives

Doctors prescribe barbiturates, or sedatives, as sleeping pills and other medications to aid with sleep issues, relax anxiety, and prevent seizures. These drugs are very commonly used in increasing amounts leading to developing tolerance and increased consumption that can lead to fatal overdose.

Out of every 10 cases of sedative overdoses in the United States, one person dies from heart or lung complications. Some barbiturates have a long half-life that causes overdose even from small doses.



Outpatient Rehab Center in Phoenix, AZ

No matter the substance, addiction is dangerous and carries terrible consequences. If you or your loved one is struggling with one of the most common addictions in the US as listed above, don’t hesitate to contact us here. Continuum Recovery Center offers outpatient treatments that focus on both the physical effects of the substance and the addictive behavior itself. 

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