Top 7 Most Addictive Pills

Learn about the most addictive pills and signs of use

There are many prescription medications that can be highly addictive. However, there are some that are more likely to result in dependency. Most addictive pills have legitimate medical uses and are prescribed under a doctor's supervision at specified doses.

When a person takes higher doses than were prescribed or abuses the medication for recreational purposes, the risk of addiction is increased. However, even when a person is taking some medications precisely as prescribed, there is still a risk of developing dependency.

In no particular order, some of the most addictive pills include:


OxyContin is the brand name for oxycodone, which is one of the more addictive prescription pain pills available. OxyContin is a powerful, synthetic opiate medication commonly prescribed to treat chronic or acute pain.

Oxycodone is almost identical to heroin on a molecular level, acting directly on the brain's reward center to relieve pain and create feelings of euphoria, inducing a dream-like calmness that entices some people to use it for recreational purposes.

Research indicates that people who develop prescription drug addiction symptoms after abusing oxycodone may turn to heroin as a cheaper, more readily available source of opiates, indicating that prescription pain pills can be gateway drugs.


Hydrocodone is most commonly sold under the brand name Zohydro ER, although it is also available in combination with other medications, such as in combination with paracetamol (Vicodin) or with aspirin (Lortab).

Hydrocodone is one of the most commonly abused addictive prescription pain pills in the United States and has a similar risk of developing tolerance and physical dependency as oxycodone.


Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine drug commonly prescribed to treat severe anxiety or panic disorders. Alprazolam acts directly on the central nervous system as a depressant, causing sedative effects and inducing a relaxed state.

Extended use of benzodiazepine drugs can lead to tolerance and physical dependence. The user requires higher doses in order to achieve the same effects, but may also experience withdrawal symptoms if usage stops suddenly.

Valium and Klonopin

Valium is the brand name for diazepam and Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam, both of which are benzodiazepines similar to Xanax. Valium is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, but may also be used to help relieve pain and ease sleeping disorders. Klonopin may be prescribed to treat seizures or panic disorders. Valium is more powerful than Xanax as a hypnotic drug, while Xanax tends to be more powerful in terms of relieving anxiety.

Abusing Valium over a period of time can result in developing tolerance and addiction. A person addicted to benzodiazepine drugs is strongly advised never to quit taking them by going 'cold turkey', as the withdrawal symptoms could be potentially dangerous and may require emergency medical assistance.


Adderall is an amphetamine medication commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is a stimulant drug that commonly abused for its ability to assist the user with maintaining focus and boosting concentration levels. Abusing any amphetamine drug over a period of time can lead to developing tolerance and physical dependence.


Ritalin is the brand name for methylphenidate, which may be commonly prescribed to treat ADHD. Using the medication can increase focus, improve attention span, and enhance concentration levels. The drug acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system, so it also reduces feelings of fatigue.

If you or someone you know displays prescription drug addiction symptoms, reach out and ask for help from a doctor or from an addiction specialist within a drug addiction rehab center. Stopping use of some types of medication can be dangerous, so it's strongly advised that the detox process is conducted under careful medical supervision.


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