Top 5 Hardest Addictions to Quit

hardest drugs to quit

Different drugs can cause a wide range of sensations for users. From relaxed and calm moods to heightened energy and euphoria, most drugs create a false sense of emotional comfort or security, causing users to feel empowered when they use the drugs, leading to overuse, abuse, and addiction. 

However, some drugs might be more addictive than others, making it more difficult for an individual to quit using them. This occurs because mood regulation, memory, willpower, and decision-making processes are all significantly impacted by the use of substances. Once someone is dependent on drugs, it can be challenging for them to refrain from using.

Here are the top 5 hardest drugs to quit. 

1. Alcohol

One of the hardest addictions to quit is alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 30% of Americans have suffered from an alcohol use disorder at some point in their lifetime.[1] 

Some of the difficulty associated with quitting an alcohol addiction stems from how common alcohol consumption is in America. While 30% of people have dealt with alcoholism, 85.6% of Americans have drunk alcohol before.[1] When someone is attempting to quit drinking, the way that alcohol is embedded in America’s culture can definitely get in the way. 

Another reason that alcohol is one of the hardest drugs to kick is the withdrawal symptoms it causes. Without treatment, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening, so alcohol is thought to be one of the hardest addictions to quit. 

2. Heroin 

Heroin is among some of the hardest drugs to quit. While the withdrawal symptoms associated with this substance are not as severe as alcohol, other factors make this addiction difficult to kick. 

Heroin causes the brain’s dopamine levels to rise substantially and at an alarmingly quick rate. Once the potent high that this drug causes begins to subside, individuals will face intense cravings to use more heroin, causing them to get trapped in the cycle of addiction, continually using more and more heroin each time they get high. 

Another reason that heroin is so difficult to quit is that many people end up intravenously injecting the drug, which is also referred to as “shooting up”. When someone shoots up, they begin to become addicted to the routine of injecting themselves on top of the heroin. This will cause them to have a harder time quitting the drug, as they are addicted to both the sensations the drug causes and the method of administration. 

3. Cocaine

Cocaine is one of the hardest drugs to quit, especially because many people view this drug as harmless. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 1.9% (or about 5.2 million people) reported using cocaine in the past 12 months.”[2]

Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug that causes a fast and energetic high that people become addicted to rather quickly. Because this drug can cause a positive mood and increase energy, many individuals use this substance at work to increase their performance. This causes people to begin relying on the drug to help them work, which can make it extremely difficult to quit using cocaine. 

Additionally, cocaine affects the neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which is responsible for pleasure and reward. Cocaine prevents dopamine from being reabsorbed, allowing it to linger in the brain and cause intense feelings of euphoria. When cocaine wears off, the brain is unable to create its own dopamine, which causes the individual to feel like they need the drug to feel happy.

4. Cigarettes 

While cigarettes are not known as mind-altering drugs, they are one of the hardest addictions to beat. Although cigarettes do not cause a significant high that would cause individuals to repeatedly abuse the substance, it is extremely difficult to stop smoking cigarettes.

The nicotine in cigarettes is just as addictive as heroin. Nicotine changes the brain by developing extra nicotine receptors to make room for the doses of nicotine entering the brain. When the brain is no longer receiving that nicotine, an individual will experience symptoms of withdrawal which may include anxiety, irritability, and strong cravings for cigarettes.

Another reason that cigarettes are so difficult to quit is because of how and when people use them. Most of the time, people reach for their cigarettes when they feel stressed or anxious. Smoking cigarettes gives them an imagined sense of relief, causing them to rely on nicotine for stress relief.

5. Benzodiazepines 

Benzodiazepines are one of the most dangerous prescription drugs to abuse. Additionally, it is extremely difficult to quit a benzodiazepine addiction, especially when considering the dangers of withdrawal. 

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can cause life-threatening effects, including:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Pain and stiffness in the muscles
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep issues 
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors in the muscles
  • Potential for seizures and psychosis 

Attending a detox program is the safest and most effective way to overcome benzodiazepine addiction. Unfortunately, many people attempt to quit using these drugs on their own and end up relapsing due to the severe symptoms of withdrawal they face. This is what makes benzodiazepines among the hardest addictions to quit. 

Get Help for Alcohol Abuse and Drug Addiction

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, it’s important to attend a professional treatment program. Quitting drug addiction on your own is extremely difficult and potentially dangerous depending on the type of substance you are using, but going to a professional rehab will prevent you from experiencing life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal and help you regain control of your life. 

Contact Moving Mountains Recovery today to start your recovery journey. 

References:

  1. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
  2. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states

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