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The 10 Most Common Addictions

An addiction affects the whole family.

Over the years, research has provided the insight needed to develop a better understanding of addiction and its effects.

Research has shown that addictive behaviors affect everyone in your life, including family and friends. Keep reading to discover the most common addictions and how they affect your family.

In this article, you will discover the 10 most common addictions and how they hurt your family.

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What Are the Most Common Addictions?

There were approximately 20.6 million people (12+ years old) in the United States with an addiction in 2011.

  1. Alcohol

  2. Tobacco and Nicotine

  3. Marijuana

  4. Painkillers

  5. Heroine

  6. Cocaine

  7. Benzodiazepines

  8. Stimulants

  9. Inhalants

  10. Gambling

Today, we are taking a closer look at these 10 most common addictions and how they affect your family.

1. Alcohol

More than ten percent of children in the United States live with an alcoholic parent, according to the National Institute of Health.

Alcohol is a global burden, costing our country billions of dollars. On a more personal note, alcohol abuse can cost family members too. Alcohol causes you to neglect your duties and loved ones. This puts extra stress on the ones you love.

Drinking alcohol becomes a priority, over family routines, gatherings and responsibilities. Alcoholism can lead to violent behavior and abuse within a family, in addition to the legal issues you encountered while intoxicated, such as driving under the influence or stealing.

2. Tobacco and Nicotine

Tobacco products have the highest rates for dependence and cause more deaths each year than all other substance abuse related deaths combined.

Tobacco use causes close to half a million deaths each year. Research shows that around 40,000 of these deaths are due to second-hand use. Meaning, the smoke from your cigarettes can cause your family members to suffer and even contract lung problems that can lead to death.

Second-hand cigarette smoke has been linked to SIDS in newborn babies to lung cancer.

3. Marijuana

Marijuana has become legal for medicinal and/or recreational use in many states. However, it is still a substance with addictive qualities and is known to stunt cognitive development.

In a recent Nationwide survey, 45 percent of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the last year.

If you are using marijuana, addiction to it can affect your family when your behavior becomes more isolating and aggressive. If you are living in somewhere it is still illegal, you risk your family members being sent to jail if you are hiding it in their home.

4. Painkillers

In the US, over 50 million people aged twelve and older have used painkillers for recreational use in the last month. Painkillers are extremely addictive and often lead to fatalities.

Theft is one of the biggest ways painkiller abuse harms family members. If you are abusing prescription medicines, then you have likely stolen some of your family members’ medicines. They need these medicines. When you steal them, your family member is going without and will experience legitimate pain because they do not have what they need.

Most painkiller addicts steal or participate in fraud in some way. Your family will be the main ones to suffer from your illegal activities. They also constantly worry about whether you will die due to overdose or be killed while trying to obtain pills.

They also worry if your pill addiction will lead to worse addictions, like to heroin.

5. Heroin

Overdoses on heroin have increased by about 30 percent in many states. It is noted that most people who abuse heroin, started their addiction using prescription painkillers. Due to the high cost of opioid medicines, they realize it is cheaper to buy heroin.

Your family suffers when you are addicted to heroin. You put them in situations where they too are involved in illegal activities. They feel if they do not help you then you will die. So, they help you obtain your drugs, they enable you. They think they are doing the right thing.

Heroin today is often mixed with fentanyl or other drugs, like cocaine, making it even more likely to cause death.

6. Cocaine

Millions of people report using cocaine in the last month, many of them are youth ages twelve or older. Like other drugs, cocaine is often mixed with other substances. Mixtures can cause fatal reactions.

For family members, your cocaine use creates a negative environment at home. It can also affect unborn children. If you use cocaine while a child is conceived, you can create learning disabilities and other problems. They can even be born addicted to cocaine.

They will then have experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as they enter the world. This could lead to legal problems for you and possibly loss of your child to protective services.

7. Benzodiazepines

Drugs like Xanax and Ativan are needed for some people, on a temporary basis. However, many abuse these drugs and become addicted. In a study, benzodiazepine abuse was found to be the reason 35 percent of people visited a hospital for treatment.

These drugs are not ones you can just quit taking. They can cause seizures or death if you try to withdraw on your own. For family members, the pressure is on them to get you to enter a medical facility for detox.

8. Stimulants

Stimulants can range from prescription medicines, such as Adderall or Ritalin, to crystal meth. Both are equally dangerous. If you are addicted to stimulants, you are addicted to being on a high, with hyper energy.

You begin to neglect your family and friends, isolating to spend most of your time getting high. Your family watches helplessly as you become thin, frail and even lose teeth and hair. If you progress to crystal meth, your physical and mental abilities decline rapidly.

This can be difficult for family members to watch.

9. Inhalants

You probably have a variety of products in your home right now that can be used as an inhalant.

This is particularly concerning considering one in four students reported abusing a household chemical as an inhalant. Inhalants produce a range of effects, including hallucinations, euphoria, and alcohol-like intoxication.

One of the major risks of abusing one of these products includes hypoxia (lack of oxygen), which can damage many of your organs, including the liver, kidney, and brain. Brain damage is typically seen with chronic long-term use of solvents.

10. Gambling

If someone in your family displays a compulsive gambling behavior, he or she may have an addiction.

It doesn't matter if you're playing a game at the casino, betting on sports, or paying for in-app purchases on your phone to enhance your odds, it's still gambling. A gambling addiction may or may not carry the same risks as substance addictions (although, people with gambling addictions are more likely to develop alcohol addictions as well), but it does have a direct financial impact on your family.


Addiction affects the whole family.

Whether it is an addiction related to a substance of behavior, it is still an addiction. Addictions are indifferent toward your family and almost always has a negative impact on your relationships, financial stability, and health.

To avoid losing those you love, seek help today. There are many treatment avenues that can help you regain control of your life and maintain healthy relationships with others. Take the first step of asking for help today.