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How Do Different Types of Addictions Differ from Each Other?

man examines bottle of pills

Substance addiction is characterized by substance abuse that leads to an inability to control cravings and use.  Addiction can form as a result of using a wide variety of substances, from alcohol to crack cocaine. Treatment for substance abuse is similar in many ways across substances, but there are some differences regarding the addictive nature of specific drugs and the detox process.  Here are how a few addictions may differ.


Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system.  It can provide boundless energy and a sense of euphoria to the user, and despite its likelihood of leading to addiction, it is often used recreationally in social circles.  Crack cocaine, a cheaper form of the drug, is up to twice as powerful, and has the potential to lead to addiction at a much faster rate. There are no medications that have been proven to treat cocaine addiction, however, you may be prescribed medication for anxiety or sleep issues when you decide to quit. Treatment for cocaine addiction usually involves rigorous therapy and a 12-step program. 


Alcohol is very addictive, but the rate at which addiction occurs varies greatly from person to person.  Addiction may develop slowly over the course of many years, or occur soon after an individual begins binge drinking.  Treatment usually requires therapy, identification, and treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders, and a 12-step program.  There are some medications that have been shown to curb alcohol cravings, but their success is controversial.


The category of opiates includes many addictive drugs, many of which are commonly used to treat pain.  Heroin, a synthetic street drug in this category, was long considered the most addictive opiate. However, abuse of prescription pain medication has surpassed cocaine and heroin in recent years, leading to what many call the opioid crisis.  There are some medications that have proven successful in both detox and craving reduction for opiate addiction, but long-term sobriety requires professional care and counseling.

If you or someone you love has developed an addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.