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Published on January 24, 2024

5 Substances You Think Are Harmless but Are Actually Addictive

These days, it seems that there’s a medication available for anything a person could suffer from. If you’re in pain, there are pills for that. Are you sneezing and wheezing uncontrollably? There are pills, inhalers, and nasal sprays for that. Do you suffer from depression or anxiety? Several remedies are available for both. Reports show that there are currently more than 20,000 prescription medications at people’s disposal. By some accounts, more than 300,000 over-the-counter medications are available as well. 

Looking at Five Seemingly Harmless Substances

Most of those medications are harmless. In fact, some of them aren’t even effective at all. They’re essentially placebos marketed as wonder drugs for companies to make money off of. That being said, certain substances that most people believe are innocuous can actually be addictive and harmful. They can certainly leave people seeking the benefits of inpatient rehab. Take a look at five of the most common culprits. 

1) Marijuana

Marijuana has been proven to have helpful medicinal effects. It can alleviate pain and reduce anxiety among many other benefits. Of course, people also use it recreationally. Though most people believe that cannabis isn’t addictive, it actually can be. People who use it regularly may build up a tolerance to it, so they gradually need to increase their dosages to achieve the desired effects. If they stop using it altogether, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. 

2) Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax and Valium are a couple of the most common medications in this category. Their effectiveness isn’t in question; they’ve helped countless people overcome the potentially detrimental effects of those conditions.

Still, people can also become dependent on them. If so, they may suffer withdrawal and other serious consequences when they stop taking them. Not all anxiety medications are addictive, and even those that are can be used safely. It’s important to keep the potential dangers in mind, though. 

3) Stimulants

Certain stimulants are widely known for their addictiveness. Those include methamphetamines and cocaine. Medications like Ritalin and Adderall that treat ADHD are also potentially addictive stimulants. People who don’t actually suffer from ADHD often take them for added energy and heightened focus. When people abuse them, they can certainly become dependent on them. Even caffeine is addictive in its own right though it’s not as difficult to walk away from as other stimulants.  

4) Painkillers

Prescription painkillers are also addictive. Opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone fall into this category. They help to manage pain, which is a much-needed benefit. Since doctors commonly prescribe them, people assume they’re safe. Unfortunately, people can become dependent on them even if they strictly adhere to their doctor’s orders when taking them. These medications can bring also about a sense of euphoria, which is why people often abuse them. 

5) Inhalants

Inhalants aren’t medications; they’re generally common household products like glue, paint thinner, and cleaners. People don’t often think about these products in terms of addictive substances. After all, we use them practically every day. When they start making a person feel lightheaded or giddy, all they have to do is walk away from them or open a window.

They’re chemicals, though, and they can produce a high when inhaled. Their effects and easy accessibility make them highly sought-after among people looking for a quick high. Abusing them can lead to addiction and a variety of long-term health issues. 

Be Mindful of the Dangers

Many prescription medications and items that are readily available on store shelves seem harmless. Some of them can be addictive and inherently dangerous. Inhalants, painkillers, stimulants, benzodiazepines, and marijuana are some of the most common. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with these substances. Although they have their place, they also have the potential for abuse and dependence. 


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