Types of Addictions - Drug Addiction

There are a whole range of things that we can become addicted to which include gambling, exercise, ‘retail therapy’ (shopping), sex, food, alcohol, the Internet, the list goes on and on. But for the purposes of this guide we are focussing upon drug addiction which includes the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine (smoking)
  • Drugs (cocaine, heroin, amphetamines etc)
  • Caffeine (coffee, chocolate etc)

When we think of ‘drug addiction’, many of us probably have a mental picture of a pale, skinny individual with needle marks down their arms who lives in a squat and commits crime to feed their habit.

This is a stereotype but like all stereotypes, it contains an element of truth. There are addicts who look and behave in this way, but, there are also a great many addicts who do not. There are people who hide their signs of their addiction so well that no one is aware that they have a problem.

As we know addiction is no respecter of person. It doesn’t matter whether you are working class or middle class; young or old; male or female, or married or single. Addictions can affect anyone of us and the way they do so varies between individuals.


Some addictions appear to be more ‘socially acceptable’ than others, for example alcohol. Many people enjoy a drink and are able to control how much they consume. But there others who find that alcohol becomes more than a pleasant social activity.

This is discussed at greater length in our alcohol addiction section.


Nicotine which is present in cigarette smoke is a highly addictive substance and is very difficult to break away from. There are people who state that they became addicted after their first cigarette although smoking experts tend to disprove this.

It may take only a few cigarettes for someone to become addicted to the ‘high’ experienced as nicotine affects every area of your body and brain.

Once you are addicted you find that your body craves more and more nicotine which is why there is no such thing as ‘social smoking’. Your body adjusts to a certain level but then requires ever increasing amounts of this to satisfy the urges which mean that you smoke more and more cigarettes.

Whereas someone can enjoy a single drink but not feel as if they must increase this in order to experience the same level of enjoyment.

If you are a smoker or know someone who smokes then find out more in our smoking section.


This includes both ‘hard’  and ‘soft’ drugs, and examples of these include marijuana, ecstasy, crack cocaine and heroin. There are also hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, solvents such as glue or ‘poppers’ and prescription drugs such as anti-depressants or tranquillisers.

Another category of drugs are they which are often used to improve athletic performance - anabolic steroids.

This is a wide ranging subject so in order to help we have provided information on these drugs on an individual basis.

For example: if you want to know more about a particular drug, for example heroin then there is a page which discusses it in full. But if you are interested in finding out more about barbiturates then you will find that there is a page which talks about this group of drugs.

These and many others can be found through our drug addiction section.


This may surprise people who don’t think of it as causing an addiction, but it is a powerful stimulant and can cause more problems than you realise.

We know that it is present in tea and coffee but it is also found in cola, chocolate and some types of medication.

Caffeine is useful a ‘pick me up’  but like many things in life, if used to excess then it can damage your health.

Find out more in our caffeine addiction section.

Find out more about the various types of addictions.


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