5 Common Addictive Drugs You Should Be Careful about


Addictive drugs have become popular in our society. It is quite unfortunate that some patients (addicted) will do anything to get such drugs from pharmacy shops and hospitals even to the extent of paying huge cash. In this article, we bring to you some of the common addictive drugs so you can thread carefully when you come across them.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. Such symptoms may include headache, fatigue, anxiety, emotional instability, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, increased sensitivity to pain, sweating, restlessness or insomnia etc.

The Addictive drugs

Below are five common drugs with addictive properties you need to be aware of:


Codeine is an opioid analgesic usually used to relieve mild to moderate pain. Codeine is therefore included in many pain relieve formulations. It’s also included in some cough syrups for its antitussive properties (cough suppression). Codeine has also been found to be useful in the treatment of diarrhoea. Over use of Codeine being an addictive drug can lead to dependence. Drug preparations containing codeine are now expected to be treated as controlled drugs by pharmacists. In case you are prescribed medications containing this agent, do well to take as directed and don’t go asking for more without consulting a medical expert. This is very important especially for the cough syrup formulations as several cases of dependence has been recorded.


Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system which is why it is popular known as “alert pill”.

Caffeine can be gotten from many natural sources-coffee beans, cocoa beans, tea leaves, kola nut etc. It’s also included in many drug formulations especially pain relievers and cold medicines. Regular use of Caffeine can cause mild physical dependence. However, some experts don’t consider Caffeine dependence a serious condition because it doesn’t really threaten patient’s physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do (the craving can be serious though).

However, if you stop taking Caffeine abruptly, after an extended period of use, you may have withdrawal symptoms. Check for Caffeine in your over the counter combination medications, avoid prolonged or overuse of such medications. Also, ensure to control your consumption of Caffeine from natural sources.



Also known as Valium is in the class of drugs called benzodiazepines usually used to treat anxiety, seizures and muscle spasms. They are most popularly called sleeping pills. Your doctor may prescribe such drug if you are having difficulty in sleeping which can be as a result of many factors. It is important to note that diazepam can be habit forming, as such should not be taken for an extended period of time. The medications are usually prescribed to be taken within few days after which the patient is expected to have the ability to sleep on his/her own. Failure to adhere to the directions given can put you at great risk of addiction. Kindly use strictly as directed!

Other drugs in this class include bromazepam (lexotan), nitrazepam (mogadon) etc.




Tramadol is a centrally acting analgesic (pain reliever) belonging to the opioid group. It is indicated in moderate to severe pain. Before now, tramadol can be easily gotten by a patient from any pharmacy outlet. Because of increase in the rate of abuse, the sales of tramadol is now being controlled. Tramadol can be habit-forming, an extended use can lead to opiate dependence. Always take tramadol exactly as you are directed. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.

If used for a long period of time, tramadol dosage should be gradually decreased; abruptly stopping tramadol therapy can have unpleasant side effects.


Phenobarbitone belongs to the class of drugs called barbiturate. They are used to depress the central nervous system. It is recommended by the World Health Organization for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy in developing countries. They are usually used to treat convulsion in children. It is also indicated in the treatment of insomnia.

Phenobarbitone can be habit-forming and the dependence risk is classified as high.

Ensure to take or give Phenobarbitone for as long as recommended only.



Do not take addictive drugs longer than directed.

Do not stop treatment abruptly, especially if you have been taking for a prolonged period of time. Your dose should be decreased gradually, to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for proper guidance.




  1. EMDEX Vol 1: June 2016 – May 2017 Edition
  2. List of Addictive drugs: drugabuse.com/library/drugs-a-z/


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