Top Drug addictions
Here is a list of the top 5 drug addictions in the United States.
Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs in the world and is found in beverages like beer, wine, and spirits. Though many adults consume alcohol in social situations and for recreational purposes, like any drug, it can be abused. Alcohol is a depressant and causes feelings of drunkenness. Consuming small amounts of alcohol results in a loss of coordination, slurred speech, loss of inhibition, and feelings of euphoria, which is one of the reasons it’s such a popular social drug.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol, however, can result in alcohol poisoning or side effects like nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, blackouts, coma, or even death. And when a person consumes large amounts of alcohol regularly, they may find themselves dependent on it. Symptoms of dependency include craving alcohol, drinking more frequently and greater amounts, making excuses for poor behavior, and problems in work, school, or finances. Prolonged use of alcohol can seriously damage the liver and the brain, and can be a contributing factor in some forms of cancer. Though alcohol is ubiquitous, the dangers of alcohol abuse are real.
Detoxing from alcohol takes must be done under the supervision of a doctor, as without medical care, complications may arise. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) includes mild symptoms like anxiety, shaking, sweating, vomiting, and rapid heart rate, but can also have more severe side effects like may seizures, delirium, or visual or auditory hallucinations.
The timeline for alcohol withdrawal is usually as follows:
● Six hours after last consuming alcohol – a person begins to experience withdrawal symptoms
● 24-72 hours after last consuming alcohol – withdrawal symptoms peak
● Seven days after last consuming alcohol – withdrawal symptoms begin to improve.
Stages of alcoholism
Alcoholism usually is made up of four stages:
● Pre-alcoholism – in this stage, alcohol use may seem typical to casual observers. But the person finds themselves turning to alcohol more and more in times of stress, leading to increased consumption.
● Early alcoholism – in this stage, it’s hard to resist drinking, even when you know it’s a problem. Alcohol may be on your mind all the time, and you may have blacked out at least once. Your tolerance for alcohol gets stronger.
● Middle alcoholism – at this point, alcoholism is obvious to friends and loved ones. You may miss important engagements or drink at inappropriate times, like around your children or while driving. You may gain or lose weight, feel sluggish, and look bloated and red-faced. It’s common to attempt to quit at this stage.
● Late alcoholism – this is when serious, long-term health complications start to arise. You may find yourself drinking from the moment you get up to the moment you fall asleep, and you’ve likely experienced consequences in your job, relationships, and personal life. At this point, quitting alcohol cold turkey may be dangerous. Now is the time to seek medical help and attend alcohol rehab.
Painkillers are commonly prescribed after surgery or injury, or to mitigate chronic pain. Many of the most commonly prescribed painkillers are opiates, which is a class of highly addictive drugs. In addition to dulling pain, they also can produce euphoric sensations and feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. Many people find themselves addicted to painkillers after first being prescribed them by their doctor, but they find that they crave the sensations of the drug and are compelled to continue taking them even after their prescription expires. Some of the most common painkillers include:
All of these painkillers are addictive and can lead to dependence and substance abuse. Sometimes, people who are addicted to painkillers find themselves turning to street drugs like heroin because they’re cheaper and easier to obtain.
Painkiller addiction signs
When someone is addicted to painkillers, they may display warning signs, both subtle and obvious, including:
● Lying about drug use
● Stealing to obtain money to buy more drugs
● Missed appointments or neglected responsibilities
● Extreme mood swings
● Odd sleeping habits or sedation
● Slurred speech
● Nausea or vomiting
When someone who is experiencing painkiller addiction is unable to obtain more drugs, they may become depressed, anxious, irritable, or suffer from psychosis, seizures, coma, or even death. Opiate and painkiller withdrawal should always be supervised by a medical professional.
Cocaine Addiction Signs
Cocaine is a very addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. It is often sold on the street as a fine, white powder, and can be known as coke, blow, or snow. It is usually snorted, and the stimulant effects come on quite quickly. Street dealers will sometimes cut their cocaine with flour or cornstarch to increase profits. Those who ingest cocaine report feelings of extreme energy, euphoria, and sexual arousal, as it lights up the reward pathways in the brain.
Cocaine, however, has some pretty serious adverse effects even in small doses, including rapid heart rate, sweating, high blood pressure, and high body temperature. And because cocaine’s effects are so short-lived (the effects of cocaine stay in your system for only five to 90 minutes) people will often take it multiple times in a short period. Taking cocaine frequently can lead to addiction.
Signs of cocaine addiction include dilated pupils, frequent nosebleeds, erratic behavior, agitation, and paranoia. After using the drug, users experience a crash that results in depression, social withdrawal, physical exhaustion, and excessive sleeping. During this time, users will often crave the drug and will try to obtain more so they can once again feel the euphoric high.
Because it’s so easy to ingest a lot of cocaine in a short period, an overdose is a serious concern. Cocaine usage puts a strain on your cardiovascular system, causing irregular heartbeat, sudden heart attack, or stroke. Those who ingest too much cocaine may also experience tremors and panic attacks. When combined with other drugs like heroin, a toxic cocktail is created, as the effects of both drugs are exacerbated.
Heroin Addiction Symptoms
Heroin is a street drug made from morphine. Like painkillers, heroin is an opiate. Opiates sedate the user, reducing feelings of pain, and increasing calmness. Because of their desirable effects, opiates like heroin are widely abused. One of the biggest dangers of heroin is addiction. When a user is addicted to heroin, they may find themselves unable to work or function in society and may spend all their money on drugs. And because heroin is a street drug, it can sometimes be laced with more powerful opiates which makes overdose frighteningly easy.
When someone is addicted to heroin they may neglect their responsibilities and will spend an excessive amount of time doing drugs and trying to obtain more money for drugs. This can lead to behavior like lying, stealing, and spending time in dangerous areas or with unhealthy people. When someone is on heroin, their breathing and heart rate will slow, they may become sedated, and can be difficult to rouse.
How long does heroin stay in your system?
While it does depend on factors like your age, weight, metabolism, and how much/frequently you use the drug, heroin can stay in your system for a few days. The effects of heroin usually last about two hours, and afterward, someone who is addicted to heroin will start to experience withdrawal six to 12 hours after the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms peaking within one to three days and will subside after a week. Though withdrawal ends, a user may continue to crave heroin for months or years into their recovery.
Meth (short for methamphetamine) is a highly addictive stimulant that produces a rush of dopamine in the user’s brain. Sometimes, all it takes is one use for meth addiction to happen. Because its effects are so highly desirable, and it’s easy to obtain and cheap, meth addiction is common. The high resulting from consuming meth can last for hours, and sometimes, users go on days-long binges.
Meth addiction destroys the user’s body and mind. It can cause tooth decay, skin sores, infections, paranoia, and brain damage. Like other illicit stimulants, meth can have negative effects on both the heart and the central nervous system leading to seizures, heart attacks, stroke, and sometimes, a life-threatening overdose.
What does meth look like?
Meth is most often a white crystalline powder that can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Sometimes, it can appear yellow, pink, or brown, and can even be compressed into a pill and swallowed. On the street, meth can be cut with other drugs or adulterants, resulting in an impure or dangerous product. One of the drug’s forms, crystal meth looks as the name implies, like clear or blue crystals.