There is a range of different types of drugs that people can get addicted to. However, some are more commonly abused than others.
Most people immediately picture a drug addict as being a person who frequently uses illicit street drugs, such as heroin or crack cocaine. In reality, a person can become addicted to prescription medications, as well as legal substances, such as alcohol or nicotine. The different types of drugs people may become addicted to can be classified into three different categories of drugs.
Opiate Narcotic Drugs
Opiate drugs are created from compounds found within the opium poppy. In medical terms, opiate medications are highly effective in relieving symptoms of pain.
Types of drugs commonly abused in the opiate category include:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
When opiate painkiller drugs are abused, the risk of a person developing a physical dependency is increased. If a physically dependent person tries to stop using the drug abruptly, it’s likely that a range of horribly unpleasant physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms will emerge.
Some types of stimulant drugs can be highly effective in medical settings. Cocaine was once used in dentistry, while some amphetamine formulations may be effective in treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Other types of stimulant drugs are created purely for recreational purposes and are usually manufactured in illegal drug labs before being distributed onto the streets.
However, when stimulant drugs are abused for non-medical purposes they can cause serious psychological dependency and addiction that can be challenging to treat.
Types of drugs commonly abused in the stimulant category include:
- Amphetamine (Adderall, Ritalin)
- Crack cocaine
- Methamphetamine (crystal meth, ice)
Sedative drugs act as depressants on the central nervous system and have a tranquilizing or hypnotic effect, which can make them particularly useful for treating certain conditions. Different types of drugs within the sedative category may be used to treat seizures or epilepsy, while others are useful for treating sleeping disorders, anxiety or panic attacks.
Types of drugs commonly abused in the sedative/tranquilizer category include:
- Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin)
- Barbiturates (Nembutal, Luminal, phenobarbital)
Other Types of Addictive Substances
While there is a strong focus on the various categories of drugs that can cause serious physical and psychological addiction, there are also a range of other substances that are commonly abused.
Some of the different types of drugs that many people overlook when considering drug addiction include:
Marijuana – Of all the different types of drugs that people can abuse, marijuana is the most commonly illicitly used drug in the world.
Alcohol – As alcohol is a legal substance, many people don’t fully realize how addictive it can be. It’s also common for people to slide into alcoholism without recognizing how severe their drinking problem has become, often believing they’re still in control and denying the possibility of addiction.
Nicotine – Statistics show that more than 50% of people being treated for alcohol dependence also have a significant nicotine addiction (1). Some addiction rehab centers focus strongly on treating alcohol dependence, but co-occurring nicotine addictions should also be treated simultaneously.
Steroids – Some people begin using anabolic steroids in an effort to improve athletic performance. However, prolonged use of steroids can lead to an addiction that can be difficult to quit.
There are many different types of drugs available, many of which can be extremely useful in medical settings. However, abusing any type of addictive substance for non-medical purposes can result in dependency or addiction. There is also a risk of developing a co-occurring substance addiction, especially if the person is taking more than one type of drug at the same time.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling to break free from addiction, take the time to reach out and ask for help from a professional rehab treatment facility. It could be the first step on the journey to recovery.