The term addictive drug describes every consumed, injected, or snorted substance that causes addiction. Addictive substances have components that affect the brain’s neurochemical functioning when processed by the organism. More specifically, drugs hack the brain’s pleasure and reward system by provoking intense dopamine surges every time they are consumed, which triggers the development of an association between the drug and feelings of pleasure. This creates addiction, as the individual is encouraged to repeat the behavior.
There are different addictive drugs, including legal and easily accessible drugs like alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, and illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Prescription drugs can also be addictive, as the use of benzodiazepines (sedatives like Xanax), stimulants, and opioids (painkillers) may cause dependence.