Drug Addiction

Addiction is a condition that causes someone to constantly seek and use a harmful substance or drug. They continue to seek these harmful behaviors despite knowing the consequences and seeing how their behaviors affect the ones around them.

Nobody intends to develop an addiction, but every time a drug is abused the dependence grows.

Addiction takes over someone’s life by creating a physical and psychological dependence that prioritizes drug use over all aspects of life. If they try to stop using, they are usually met with uncomfortable and painful symptoms of withdrawal, and return to the comfort of their addiction quickly. There are numerous drugs that can cause addictions, but almost all have comprehensive treatment options that can help someone get back to a healthy lifestyle.

Illicit Drugs


Can be taken as a powdered form that can be snorted and ingested or as a water-soluble base that can be injected into the veins. Cocaine produces a high that brings on feelings of euphoria and speeds up the whole body. A rush of happiness and excitement occur almost immediately and most often only last 15 to 20 minutes before beginning to wear off.

Find out more about cocaine addiction.


Or MDMA, is a powerful synthetic stimulant that has become a popular recreational drug used especially in nightclubs, dance festivals and raves. It suppresses appetite and fatigue, allowing the user to be alert for long periods of time. Ecstasy is often known as the slang term “Molly”, though this only refers to the pure crystalline powder form. Ecstasy in any form is usually taken orally in pills, capsules or tablets and lasts around 3 to 6 hours.

Find out more about ecstasy addiction.


Is an opioid derived from morphine that can become addictive when abused over time. It is also sometimes known as smack, junk, or dope. Heroin in its pure form is usually a white, pink, or beige powder that is odorless and bitter when tasted. Heroin can be abused through snorting, smoking or injecting directly into the veins. Once taken, heroin produces its effects rapidly causing people to feel more relaxed and highly euphoric.

Find out more about heroin addiction.


Is an addictive stimulant that takes the form of a white, odorless powder. It can be abused orally, smoked, snorted or dissolved. Methamphetamine increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, leading to immediate feelings of pleasure and euphoria. It’s effects happen quickly, creating an intense high that fades fast.

Find out more about methamphetamine addiction.


Are medications that are typically prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adolescents or adults. Stimulants, like amphetamines and methylphenidate, increased levels of dopamine in the brain and cause a calming and “focusing” effect. Stimulants are abused by people who want to take advantage of the calming and focusing effects of the medications.

Find out more about stimulant addiction.


Such as Codeine, Morphine and OxyCodone, are prescribed to help patients cope with excessive pain. Opioid painkillers block nerve receptors in the brain leaving the person unable to feel the pain. Unfortunately, it is very easy to develop a dependence on painkillers even while using the correct prescribed dose.

Find out more about painkiller addiction.


Are a widely prescribed medication used to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia disorders. These include Xanax, Klonopin and Valium. Benzodiazepines are abused when people take the wrong doses or when people without a diagnosed condition take the medications. People who abuse the medications are susceptible to developing tolerance, dependence and addiction.

Find out more about benzodiazepines addiction.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Nearly all addictions can be successfully overcome with comprehensive treatment and therapy. Rehabilitation centers, support groups and individual counseling are all options for someone willing to begin a journey to sobriety. Visit our page on addiction treatment to learn more about the options for you or a loved one.

Find out more about general treatments for drug addiction

Drug specific addiction treatment information:

View Sources Last Edited: October 5, 2021

Sources and Citations

  1. Find Help & Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://www.samhsa.gov/find-help
  2. Friedman, R. A. (2012). A Call for Caution on Antipsychotic Drugs. Retrieved April 27, 2016, from
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/
  4. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2016, from https://www.childwelfare.gov/survey/?target=http://www.na.org/
  5. National Substance Abuse Index – Directory of Addiction Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2016, from http://nationalsubstanceabuseindex.org/