All the Types of Addiction (& How They Work)

There are many variables when it comes to not just treating addiction, but in also how it is viewed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are more men than women currently in treatment centers around the country. With that said, women are more likely to seek treatment for dependence on sedatives such as anti-anxiety and sleep medications.

The same research shows that men are more likely to seek treatment for heroin use, though the rate of women for this has increased dramatically in recent decades. The differences between sexes in how they react to drug abuse makes it much more difficult to treat.

The difference of drug choice between the sexes shows a clear-cut difference, but does this mean addictions are treated equally? In our society, we don’t treat addiction equally. We all know someone or another who has a drinking problem, but because they function at a high level, their alcohol use is often disregarded as they like to drink.


On that same note, we view someone who has a prescription pill problem as someone who needs to get help. Why as a society is one addiction regarded differently from another?

The reason for this is how the United States has accepted a drug like alcohol as a part of its culture. Alcohol can be just as deadly as illicit drugs like heroin, but every day, many people drink a glass of wine after work or go to the bar for a cold beer, and all of these are considered part of everyday life. Heroin has been often associated with homelessness and part of a subculture that we look at as the underbelly of society. This stigma, however, is what makes those who use the drug have a difficult time getting help.

The opioid epidemic has grown dramatically during the past two decades, but along with that, so has the stigma that is attached. It’s a fact that most of us disapprove of heroin use and can stigmatize the use of it, but disapproval of other drugs such as MDMA “Molly” is much lower than hard drugs.

Another example is marijuana; since it is growing in popularity and becoming legal around the country, the disapproval toward it is declining as well. There is more research necessary to determine if marijuana use reduces disapproval toward the use of harder more potentially dangerous drugs. There is a clear indication that not all drug addictions are treated equally, so does that mean the types of treatment required should be different as well?



How Are Different Types of Addiction Treated?

Addiction treatment is a unique process that requires a customized approach. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach as there is a multitude of factors influencing the outcome. Some of these include:

  • Gender
  • Type of drugs used
  • Severity of addiction
  • Length of use
  • History of trauma
  • Mental status
  • Polydrug use

This is to name a few of the many factors that can influence how addiction treatment will go. In short, no, not all drug addictions are treated equally, and neither are the treatments they require. We will discuss a bit of what kind of treatment is beneficial for these drug types.

Differences in How Addiction Develops Between Men and Women

When it comes to the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse in men and women, men, in general, are more likely to develop a substance abuse issue that women. For example, men are twice as likely to develop and meet the criteria for drug and alcohol dependence in comparison to women. It is also estimated that men are three times as likely to become alcohol dependent or alcoholic. However, men and women are equally addicted to drugs such as methamphetamine and prescription medications.

There are also differences in the reasons men and women abuse drugs and alcohol. It is well-known in the addiction treatment and prevention community that co-occurring mental disorders often the root cause of drug and alcohol use. In general, men tend to use substances to try and increase positive moods and as a coping mechanism in dealing with social and behavioral problems. On the other hand, women tend to abuse drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medication in an attempt to deal with emotional and psychological issues.

In comparison to men, women seem to be at greater risk for developing an addiction to substances as a result of traumatic events in their lives. Abusive relationships, childhood trauma, stress, history of parents abusing substances at home are flashpoints for substance abuse and relapse in women.

Interestingly, women are often introduced to drugs and drug use through a significant relationship such as a boyfriend, spouse or partner who uses drugs. Additionally, women are also more likely than men to use stimulant drugs such as nicotine, cocaine, and amphetamines and to suppress appetite.

Suffering From Opioids

With 2.5 million Americans suffering from opioid use disorder, there is a specific format to be followed for effective treatment. Opioid use can lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, and someone with a pressing medical condition like this requires specialized care to treat not just treat the addiction but their medical problems as well.

Effective medications can aid opioid recovery. Buprenorphine and methadone were classified as essential medicines, according to the World Health Organization. These medications, however, must be paired with behavioral counseling as a whole patient approach. This is known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Medication-assisted treatment has been proven to decrease opioid use, opioid-related overdose deaths, criminal activity, and infectious disease transmission. MAT also can increase social function and retention in treatment, which means they are more likely to stay in therapy compared to those who did not receive medications. This is a revolutionary but scrutinized approach to treatment, but it has been highly successful.


Stimulants Class of Psychoactive Drugs

Stimulants fall into a class of psychoactive drugs characterized by their ability to produce short-term improvements in physical functions, mental functions, or both. These addictions are fueled by long-term mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. Stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or prescription drugs like Adderall can be dangerous when abused. They can cause long-term damage that can eventually lead to death or an impaired life. Treating this type of addiction is of paramount importance.

During a stimulant treatment program, the client will begin their recovery with medical detoxification, which allows them to transition them into sobriety under the supervision of medical professionals. The client could be given medications on a case-by-case basis. Stimulant withdrawal is not deadly but can be extremely uncomfortable. The next stage will have the client placed into residential treatment or an outpatient treatment program depending on the severity of addiction.


Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that can be deadly when detoxing it from your system.

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Treatment for alcohol should never be done by yourself, and addiction specialists urge that you seek treatment to quit if you consume large amounts of alcohol. Treatment for alcohol will begin with medical detoxification, and the client will require medication to counteract some of the adverse effects associated.

Medication is a positive part of the winning combination for alcohol use disorders and will help the user gain traction as they move through the continuum of care.


There are 35 derivatives of benzodiazepines today. The most commonly used and popular benzo is Xanax. Benzodiazepine addiction is different due to how powerful the drugs are. Benzos are depressants, and when used in conjunction with other drugs like opioids, it can be an instant death sentence.

The common practice for benzo treatment is to start in the most intensive level of care, which is detox. The addiction team will provide medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms while mitigating any risk that can occur such as seizures. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is dangerous and requires supervised and strict supervision to ensure nothing out of the ordinary happens.

How Drug Addiction Can Ruin Your Life

While we have proven all types of addiction are not treated equally and how their treatment approach differs, we should focus on how there is a matter that is treated equally. Drug addiction can ruin your life. Period. Whether it’s an addiction to stimulants, opioids, or alcohol, they all have the potential to steal away the best moments of your life.

Some of the ways addiction can ruin your life:


It costs a lot of money to be addicted to drugs, and this can require you to drain bank accounts, sell your valuables, or steal from your family members.


Those caught in the cycle of addiction often don’t care for themselves and practice bad habits. The drugs consumed can deteriorate your health over time.


Drug and alcohol addiction can change you from the inside out. While some can maintain their appearance while struggling, they will experience a demise of their morals, values, and perceptions of reality as a whole.


Drugs are illegal, and getting caught using them can land you in jail. If not for drugs, those who steal to maintain their habit can also land themselves behind bars. Drugs can push people into drug dealing, prostitution, and gangs to fuel their habits.


All it takes is one bad dose to kill you. Drugs are unregulated substances that can be laced with substances that can fatally harm you, even with a small dose.

Addiction Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Life If You Get Help Today

Drug or alcohol addiction can rob someone of their lives, and the only way to avoid this is to seek treatment. Getting caught up in addiction can feel like the loneliest road. Fortunately, Ocean Breeze Recovery has the tools to help rebuild the user’s life. We are an addiction rehab center based in Pompano Beach, South Florida, dedicated to healing broke minds, bodies, and spirits.

Addiction to any substance can leave you feeling empty and seeking more from life. When you’ve become addicted, your daily routine will involve obtaining more drugs. When drugs run out, so will the ability to function normally. This makes choosing the right treatment center even more important.

Ocean Breeze offers customized treatment that offers a better shot at lasting recovery rather than simple detox or self-treatment. Those models are not sustainable, and if you are ready to gain back the traction in your life, it’s important to take the first step.

Call one of our addiction specialists at (855) 960-5341 or contact us online to further discuss your options. We are ready to give you the opportunity for a better life where you aren’t living in fear of becoming sick from withdrawal.