- Tobacco (nicotine)
Even though this addiction doesn’t seem to be as harmful compared to others, it is damaging and its effects are visible after long substance abuse. The problem with this addiction is that tobacco is legal, easily accessible and inexpensive. More tobacco users die compared to abusers of other substances. A clear sign of addiction is a smoker who wants to quit, knowing what it does to his or her health, but just can’t stop. Over 40 million people are addicted to tobacco, making it number one in the 10 most common addictions in the US.
This addiction has 18 million addicts, and is difficult to recognize, since there are so many situations in which it is socially acceptable to drink. Abusing alcohol may lead to a lot of health issues and it may be fatal. Negative consequences include death due to liver disease, overdose, and of course drunk driving, which puts others in danger.
Even though studies show that marijuana is beneficial for certain medical conditions, leading to increased legalization, the fact remains that abusing this substance will cause addiction and some health problems. Monitored use, specifically to ease a medical condition can also be addictive, but rarely. However, recreational use may lead to addiction, and there are 4.2 million addicts.
Painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin are often prescribed for pain treatment, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t addictive. Addiction can be caused even from small doses, leaving the addicted patients unaware of the addiction until they finally stop using them. There are 1.8 million people addicted.
Over the past few years there has been a decline in the rate of cocaine addiction (821,000), but the drop is slow. The most commonly abused form is crack cocaine, because it’s cheaper and stronger than regular cocaine.
Unlike cocaine, there has been an increase (426,000) in heroin abuse in the US. The major concern about this substance abuse is spreading diseases such as HIV and AIDS because it is not uncommon for addicts to share needles. Furthermore, the withdrawal is difficult as well, and treatment can take a long time, and include therapy and medication.
Drugs such as Diazepam ad Valium are prescribed to manage anxiety and stress. These mood-regulating drugs can often cause addiction and users aren’t always aware at first, until they realize they aren’t capable of functioning normally without the drugs. Without medical assistance, detoxification can be deadly, and they can be harmful for the brain, affecting its chemical makeup. Around 400,000 addicted.
Drugs that fall under this category are highly addictive, and withdrawal symptoms are intense, which makes it difficult to quit. They can quickly build a tolerance to the “high”, which often leads to increased dosages and ultimately an overdose. There are 400,000 addicts.
Being addicted to inhalants is very dangerous because they are volatile toxic substances, and the effects are intense, often having immediate consequences, such as nausea, fainting, hospitalization and death. The number of addicts is 140,000.
- Sedatives (barbiturates)
These are usually prescribed to treat tension and sleep disorders, but the problem is that constant use will build a tolerance that will further lead to an increase in dosage, ultimately leading to addiction. They can have mind-altering effects and an overdose can be deadly. There are 78,000 people addicted.