From young adults to college students to adults, most people who come to us for treatment abuse the following substances and then become addicted to them. Our observation also shows that most people begin using drugs as a casual experiment, or due to prescriptions for pain, however they find themselves unable to quit, leading to dangerous behaviors and harmful consequences. Others overuse drugs beyond their prescribed amounts, or misuse drugs without prescription. While drug use does not automatically lead to addiction, the unfortunate truth is that many substance abusers do become addicts for life.
Recognizing the most commonly abused drugs can help you be aware of exposure to them for yourself or your loved ones.
Alcohol has the highest rate of abuse among all drugs/substances, reporting more than 16 million people abusing or misusing alcohol by binge drinking or heavy drinking. Consumption of alcohol can damage the areas of the brain that are important for problem solving, decision making, memory and learning. Alcohol can also damage other organs such as the liver, kidneys, heart and several others. Alcohol still remains one of the major causes of deaths and DUI cases.
Only slightly less than alcohol, marijuana (weed/cannabis/pot/grass) is also one of the highest abused drugs, reporting more than 12 million people using it in some form. Although many states in the USA are legalizing marijuana, there are many risks associated with this substance. One of the risks with marijuana is that it may be laced with other, more addictive substances because there is no regulated way to purchase it in many states.
Pain relievers and prescription medications are the next most commonly abused category of drugs, reporting over 10 million people using it in some form such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, vicodin and several others. Many opioids have high addiction rates, as few as ten days or less for someone to get addicted. What makes them even more dangerous is how many lives are lost due to overuse or misuse of opioids.
Mind-altering drugs such as LSD, DMT, MDMA, as well as mushrooms carrying psilocybin are the next category of highly abused drugs. Users of hallucinogens, reported at around 7 million people, use it to experience perception-altering states such as euphoria and ecstasy. However, these hallucinogens are also known to create traumatic emotions and other bodily changes such as enhanced heart rate, increased blood pressure, and several others.
This category includes medications commonly prescribed for anxiety, panic attacks, depression and other mental health conditions. More than 5 million people misuse or abuse these tranquilizers and sedatives such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates which are typically prescribed for improved sleep and as muscle relaxants.
If you suspect that you or your loved ones may be on the verge of addiction to one of these substances, or any substances at all, the earlier you seek treatment, the better your chances for recovery.
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