Drug addiction might not seem like a medical disease – but it is internationally recognized by major health organization such as the Center for disease control and the United Nations World Health Organisation as a serious and dangerous disease. In fact, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimate that is 1 in 20 adults worldwide have used drugs at least once. Worldwide Cannabis is the most commonly abused drug, followed by opiates. Drug addiction disease can be broken down into a number of different substance abuse disorders – but it is important to note that many drug users have addictions to multiple substances. The following list includes known drug abuse conditions:

Drug addiction disease can be broken down into a number of different substance abuse disorders

  • Opioid use disorder – Opiates come from the opium poppy and have been used for millennia to treat pain. However, they also come with a strong euphoric effect and are incredibly addictive. The USA is currently in the throngs of an opioid epidemic that has arguable been fueled by overprescription of opiate medications to treat pain. Many users started on painkillers for chronic pain conditions and when they were not renewed a prescription had to head to the streets to find the substance their bodies desperately craved. Opioid abuse disorder is defined as 12 months of opiate use that causes harm to the individual. The individual continues to use the drug even though they know it has a harmful effect on their life.
  • Cocaine abuse – Cocaine can be snorted or smoked (crack) and is a strong sympathomimetic, the meaning is speeding up the heart and incites arousal in the individual. There are a number of harmful effects associated with cocaine use – individuals that use the drug chronically can get a scarred heart that leads to hypertrophy of the heart (essentially meaning the heart balloons up to a size that means it cannot pump effectively). This can result in sudden death.
  • Amphetamine use disorder – Drugs such as MDMA and Ecstasy can be taken in a number of ways including orally or by injection straight into the veins. You are far more likely to suffer from amphetamine abuse disorder if you have a previous history of cocaine abuse (presumably because the drugs have a similar effect)
  • Cannabis use disorder – Cannabis is the most commonly used drug worldwide (apart from alcohol). There are a number of long term effects including cognitive impairment, airway and lung disease (such as COPD) from smoking and exacerbation of underlying schizophrenia.
  • Steroid use disorder – some individuals – particularly males who spend a lot of time in the gym can develop an anabolic steroid drug addiction. This can have significant adverse effects including testicular atrophy and an increased in voice pitch.


If you or somebody you know is suffering from one of the above substance abuse disorder, or perhaps they have an addiction to another substance like alcohol, then get in contact with a specialist rehabilitation clinic today to find out more.