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Different Types of Drug Addiction: A Deeper Look

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Drug addiction is an extremely serious issue that affects millions of people around the world. It’s a complex and multi-faceted problem with numerous causes, effects, and treatment options. 

Whether it’s through illegal drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication, addiction can take its toll on both the affected person as well as their family and friends. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of drug addiction, their risks, and treatments available for those suffering from a substance use disorder. 

We’ll look at how these substances affect our bodies mentally and physically as well as explore potential support systems for anyone currently struggling with addiction.

Types of Drug Addiction

Let’s take a deeper look at each type of drug addiction and discuss how they differ from one another:

1. Opioids

Opioids are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy and include substances such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. 

These drugs act on the brain’s reward system by flooding it with dopamine to give users a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. Because of this intense pleasure response, it can be difficult for users to stop taking opioids even when they start to experience negative side effects like tolerance (needing more drugs to achieve the same effect), physical dependence (withdrawal symptoms), or worse – addiction.

People become addicted to opioids through various routes; some people may begin using prescribed medications after an injury or chronic illness while others may turn to illicit substances like heroin or fentanyl due to their availability and lower cost. 

Those who struggle with chronic pain or mental health issues may find themselves unable to cope without using these drugs. No matter how people become addicted, opioids can quickly take over their life and destroy relationships, jobs, health, and well-being. 

2. Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is derived from the coca plant, native to South America. It can be found in powder or crystal form and can be snorted, injected, or smoked for its psychoactive effects. 

It acts on the brain to produce a feeling of euphoria, increased energy, and alertness, as well as reduced appetite. This is why it is one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs in the world.

The use of cocaine has numerous negative impacts on both physical and mental health. Physically, cocaine use can cause serious damage to organs such as the heart and lungs; it also increases blood pressure and body temperature dramatically. 

In addition, it can cause constriction of blood vessels leading to poor circulation and even stroke. Mentally, using cocaine can lead to paranoia and hallucinations; it can also contribute to depression, anxiety, aggression, and suicidal thoughts due to its extremely stimulating effect on the brain. 

Long-term abuse of this drug can result in cognitive decline that may be irreversible if left untreated for too long. Treatment options for cocaine addiction include psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication-assisted therapy (MAT), and counseling sessions.

3. Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are prescription medications used to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and muscle spasms. They work by depressing the central nervous system, causing feelings of relaxation and sedation. 

Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Restoril (temazepam). While these medications can be beneficial when taken as prescribed, they can also be habit-forming if taken in large doses or for long periods of time. 

Taking too much benzodiazepine can lead to overdose or death. Additionally, individuals who become addicted to benzodiazepines may experience symptoms such as depression, confusion, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, slurred speech, drowsiness, impaired coordination and balance, and hallucinations when they stop taking the medication abruptly. 

4. Ketamine

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used in veterinary medicine as well as for recreational purposes. It creates feelings of detachment from one’s environment—known as “dissociation”—which makes it popular among teens and young adults seeking an escape from reality. 

Regular use of ketamine increases tolerance levels quickly which leads users to take higher doses to achieve desired effects—a dangerous practice that often leads to physical dependence on the drug. 

Long-term use has been linked to bladder damage as well as kidney failure due to the crystallization of urine in the bladder walls caused by ketamine residue buildup over time. 

5. Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that produces powerful effects on users including increased energy levels and alertness as well as euphoria. Methamphetamine abuse has been linked with increased risk-taking behavior such as unprotected sex or driving under the influence.

However, its greatest danger lies in its highly addictive nature which leads many users down a path toward physical dependence or even overdose due to prolonged use or excessive dosing practices. 

Taking too much meth can cause dangerous side effects including heart attack or stroke due to high blood pressure levels caused by prolonged stimulant exposure. Additionally, certain methods of preparation such as smoking meth have been linked with severe lung damage due to toxic fumes released during combustion processes associated with this delivery method.  


MDMA, or ecstasy, is an illegal stimulant that produces feelings of euphoria, increased energy levels, and empathy toward others. 

It has become increasingly popular in recent years as a party drug but has been known to cause long-term psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, confusion, paranoia, sleep disturbances, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. 

While MDMA is not considered physically addictive, it does create an emotional dependence due to its effects on mood regulation. Treatment for MDMA addiction generally involves counseling and therapy to address underlying issues that may be contributing to the addiction. 

 7. Alcohol

Alcoholism is one of the most common forms of drug addiction. It is caused by excessive use of alcohol resulting in physical dependence on the substance which leads to cravings and withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. 

Symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, increased heart rate, tremors, and sweating. Treatment for alcoholism typically involves detoxification followed by behavioral therapies such as group or individual therapy to help identify triggers for drinking and how to cope with them without using alcohol. 

Medication may also be prescribed depending on the severity of the addiction. 

8. Psilocybin

Psilocybin is a naturally-occurring psychedelic drug found in certain species of mushrooms, commonly referred to as magic mushrooms. When consumed, the drug produces an altered state of consciousness, which can include visual and auditory hallucinations, changes in perception, altered thinking processes, and increased spiritual awareness. 

Psilocybin has been used by humans for centuries in spiritual or ceremonial contexts and is now being studied for its potential to treat mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.  

Psilocybin mushrooms are not physically addictive but they can result in psychological dependence due to their effects on mood regulation; therefore treatment generally involves counseling and therapy along with lifestyle changes such as avoiding triggers or changing dietary habits. 

9. Adderall

Adderall is a stimulant drug commonly prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It’s also often taken recreationally by students looking for an edge in their studies or by those seeking an energy boost. 

Unfortunately, Adderall can be highly addictive. The effects are short-lived and users often find themselves needing more and more to feel the same effects. This leads to physical and psychological dependence on the drug, which is difficult to break free from without professional help. 

10. Nicotine

Nicotine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. It’s found in cigarettes as well as other tobacco products such as cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vaping products. Nicotine acts quickly on the brain and can lead to feelings of pleasure or relaxation for users. However, it’s highly addictive, and quitting smoking can be extremely difficult for many people who have become dependent on it. 

11. Cannabis

Cannabis is a plant that contains a variety of compounds known as cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for its psychoactive effects when consumed. 

Cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries but has recently gained popularity as a recreational drug due to its psychoactive effects when consumed. While cannabis use doesn’t typically lead to physical dependence like other drugs do, it can still be psychologically addictive due to its pleasurable effects when consumed regularly over time. 

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

While drug addiction is a growing epidemic in society, understanding its signs and symptoms can help those who are struggling with addiction as well as their family and friends. 

There are four main categories that describe the signs and symptoms of drug addiction—emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these. 


Those suffering from drug addiction often display a wide range of emotional symptoms. These can include 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased ability to feel pleasure or satisfaction
  • Apathy 
  • Losing interest in hobbies


Habitual drug use can lead to several changes in someone’s behavior. These can range from reckless behavior such as driving under the influence to exhibiting secretive or dishonest behaviors such as lying about their whereabouts or how much money is being spent on drugs. 

Other common signs may include neglecting responsibilities at home and work, missing important engagements, repeatedly skipping out on social engagements, and isolating oneself from loved ones.


Drug addiction can lead to a variety of physical changes in someone’s life as well. 

This can include:

  • Weight loss or gain due to frequent substance abuse
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure levels due to extended abuse
  • Fatigue due to excessive sleep disturbances 
  • A weakened immune system leads to more frequent illnesses and infections
  • Skin issues like acne or rashes resulting from substance misuse or contamination
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Cardiovascular problems


Cognitive impairment is another sign that someone might be struggling with drug addiction. Signs may include:

  • Impaired concentration 
  • Short-term memory problems 
  • Difficulties making decisions
  • Poor problem-solving skills
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Confusion
  • Trouble understanding instructions 

In severe cases of addiction, these cognitive deficits may even become permanent if left untreated for too long.

Why Choose Lantana Recovery?

At Lantana Recovery each patient receives a comprehensive range of modern, evidence-based treatments that address their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and vocational needs. The center’s team of experienced and compassionate professionals is dedicated to helping clients achieve lasting recovery through personalized care that addresses the unique needs of each individual.

In addition to traditional therapies such as individual and group counseling, Lantana Recovery also offers alternative holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, and art therapy to help clients address the underlying emotional and psychological issues that may have contributed to their addiction.

One of the key reasons to choose Lantana Recovery for addiction treatment is their outpatient treatment program that allows patients who cannot take time away from their responsibilities to continue to work or attend school while receiving treatment.

Moreover, our aftercare program is designed to provide ongoing support to clients as they transition back to their daily lives. This includes individualized support and counseling, as well as access to local support groups and other resources to help clients maintain their recovery over the long term. 

If you are based in South Carolina, Lantana Recovery is your best chance of achieving lasting recovery from addiction. 

Bottom Line: Types of Drug Addiction: 

Drug addiction comes in many forms – from prescription medications like Adderall to nicotine or even cannabis – all with different levels of dependency risks associated with them depending on their usage habits or individual predispositions towards addiction development. 

No matter what type of substance you may be struggling with addiction issues related to, it is important that you seek help right away if you think you may need it so that you can start recovering before your situation gets worse. 

If you are currently struggling with drug addiction please contact your doctor or local support services immediately so that they can provide appropriate assistance and advice tailored specifically to your situation. Thank you for reading!


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.