Drug Addiction and Abuse

Addiction and drug abuse can be challenging to deal with. If you are the addicted party, you face a slew of physical, social, and psychological by-products of the addiction. A person’s drug abuse also impacts loved ones. Addiction and abuse can occur in a variety of drugs.

Sleeping Pills

Many people have insomnia at least once in their lifetime. Various factors can lead to difficulty sleeping, including medication side effects, excessive stress, and medical issues. When the lack of sleep becomes chronic and bothersome, it is common to turn to sleeping pills for assistance. They are available in two main groups: over the counter and prescription.

Drug Abuse and Addiction: Common Types of Drugs

Over the counter sleep aids can seem harmless and boast they do not produce side effects. In many cases, when they are used as instructed, those are true statements. Abuse occurs, however, when rebound insomnia kicks in. You stop taking the sleep aid only to discover your sleeplessness has returned. Most OTC sleep aids contain diphenhydramine or doxylamine, which are antihistamines that have sedative properties. Others contain a hormone called melatonin. The body makes melatonin naturally as the sleep portion of the sleep-wake cycle. Although melatonin aids are designed to produce a boost, they can be abused.

Prescription sleeping pill abuse and addiction tend to occur more comfortable than their OTC counterparts. They are intended for short-term use, but many addicts begin the abuse of these pills because of the effects they can produce, including anxiety reduction. Abusers may also combine sleeping pills with other drugs or alcohol to amplify the sedating abilities of the sleeping pills.


Opiates are prescription drugs used in the treatment of pain. They are potentially highly addictive. This group includes heroin, codone-based, codeine, and fentanyl. In addition to their pain-relieving abilities, opiates produce a high, euphoric feeling. Due to this effect, many addicts obtain opiates illegally.

Like many other addictions, opiate addiction can be dangerous. Abuse can cause breathing to slow down, resulting in a condition called hypoxia. In most cases, this reduction of oxygen to the brain can lead to permanent brain damage or coma.

Illicit Drugs

An illicit drug is a category of illegal and extremely addictive substances. Marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and GHB are a few common types. They can have sedative, euphoric, or hallucinogenic properties. An illicit drug can also be a stimulant, called an upper, or a depressant, called a downer. Illicit drugs can also be prescription medications sold illegally.

Addiction often begins as recreational usage. Many of these substances result in abuse from their first use. A variety of factors can influence a person’s choice to use an illicit drug, but the addiction is almost instantaneous. It is common for addicts to develop a tolerance that results in using the substance more frequently or in more copious amounts to achieve the desired effects.


A benzodiazepine is a type of drug that depresses the central nervous system and can produce a sedated feeling. As a prescription medication, these drugs are often used to treat seizures, anxiety disorder, muscular conditions, and chronic insomnia. Benzo addiction is known in the medical community as hypnotic, sedative, or anxiolytic use disorder.

Although benzos can be a type of illicit drug, addiction often stems from a legitimate medical need. Patients being treated with benzos frequently develop a tolerance and dependency. When patients rely on a benzo for symptom relief but are facing a tolerance, they will take a higher dosage.

As an illicit drug, abusers are purchasing benzodiazepines illegally. In some cases, buyers are being treated with existing benzos and have run out. Other cases, however, involve buyers who may be self-medicating or desire the sedative properties. In the latter case, users often mix these medications with other drugs to increase effects.


A stimulant can be illicit or prescribed. Illicit stimulants include cocaine and methamphetamine. Prescription stimulants include methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine. A prescription stimulant is often used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and narcolepsy.

There has been a growing trend in the illegal sale of prescription stimulants on the street. Stimulant drugs cause an increase in cognitive abilities and alertness. People who want to experience higher levels of concentration and stay awake will seek these stimulants illegally. Typical users include high school and college students who are seeking to get more accomplished in a small window of time. While illicit stimulants give faster and more intense results, prescription stimulants are in time-release forms that last longer.

The amount of time it takes for these drugs to clear out of your system will depend on numerous factors, such as the type of drug, your metabolism, and your health. On average, benzodiazepines are in your system for ten days, opiates last a week, and stimulants can take up to three months to clear out. A large factor in how long they stay in your system can be attributed to the length of substance abuse and the amounts that are used.

The various methods of substance testing used can also determine whether the substance is detected. For example, a urine test will show negative results before a blood test, but the blood test will yield negative results before a hair test. Additionally, detoxification efforts can influence the length of time a substance remains in the system. During rehabilitation, addicts may be given prescription medications designed to speed up the detoxification process, particularly when withdrawal symptoms are dangerous to the addict.

When a person or their loved ones are facing addiction, it can seem frightening and almost impossible to think about the subject or its treatment. In addiction treatment, one of the first big steps is admitting there is a problem, and having the desire to change it. Equally, it is essential to have a good understanding of what it is that you are dealing with. There is so much more involved in addiction and drug abuse than just the substance. Physical and psychological factors must also be considered.