Top 5 Most Common Addictions

Addiction is a significant issue in America, affecting individuals across all communities and from all walks of life. According to one report, 10% of all U.S. adults have dealt with a drug use disorder at some point in their lives. And 75% of those individuals do not receive treatment for their disorder.

Addiction comes in many forms. To help identify addictive behavior, familiarize yourself with these 10 common addictions.


A relatively recent phenomenon, addiction to “benzos” like Valium, Xanax, Diazepam, and Klonopin is on the rise. These are prescription mood-regulating drugs intended to treat conditions like stress and anxiety.

Withdrawal from benzos can be particularly hazardous due to how they affect your brain chemistry. Without medical intervention, detoxing can be deadly.


Heroin has been gaining popularity as a cheaper alternative to prescription opioids. And because of its harsh withdrawal symptoms, it is also one of the hardest drugs to quit. Treatment usually requires medication to manage the withdrawal and therapy to treat psychological dependence.

Because users build up a tolerance to the drug with time, many heroin addicts have started graduating to fentanyl.

The differences between Fentanyl vs Heroin are severe. A synthetic opioid, fentanyl can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin, and that much more dangerous. Potent as the drug is, professional help is usually required to get off of fentanyl.


Rates of cocaine addiction have been dipping in recent years. However, the rate of decline has been slow enough that it still presents a public health challenge. As of 2017, as many as 2.2 million Americans we still using cocaine on a regular basis.

It’s thought that crack, being a cheaper and more accessible form of cocaine, is largely responsible for those numbers.

Prescription Painkillers

From the 1990s onward, prescription painkiller abuse has been on the rise. It’s now one of the most significant forms of substance abuse. According to a 2018 report, nearly 10 million Americans had misused prescription opioids within the previous year.

Many of these individuals were prescribed opioids for legitimate purposes like managing pain post-surgery. But because of the highly addictive nature of these drugs, they found themselves dependent on them.


Though not an illicit substance, alcohol is far and away the most abused substance in the United States. According to one study, one in eight Americans now meets the criteria for alcohol misuse disorder, often just called alcoholism.

Alcoholism can often be more difficult to spot due to alcoholic not only being legal but its use being socially acceptable and even expected. And since drinking often goes along with smoking, it tends to be comorbid with nicotine addiction as well.

These Common Addictions Often Go Hand-in-Hand

Addiction can form for a variety of reasons, from a genetic predisposition to addictive behavior to using drugs as a form of self-medication. Whatever the case, they often go hand-in-hand due to sharing the same root cause. Hence while there are many ways to treat these common addictions, but the most effective are those that target the source of addictive behavior.

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