For most addicts, the hardest drug to quit will be whatever one they are hooked on. While living with an addiction can feel challenging in the current moment, some drugs remain harder to quit than others based on various internal and external factors.

Sometimes the internal chemical structure, the areas of the brain it affects, or the physical dependency it creates in the subject contributes to the difficulty in quitting. While quantifying an answer to what is the hardest drug to quit can be challenging — it’s not impossible.

What Makes a Drug Difficult to Quit?

Every drug carries addictive properties that get people hooked and more likely to abuse them. Whether it is euphoria, numbness, or some other sensation, people can quickly become addicted to these substances and make them a significant part of their life. Aside from the psychological dependence, what makes a drug increasingly difficult to quit can stem from the withdrawal side effects they can feel when trying to get clean.

Different drugs can have unique withdrawal side effects affecting their quitting difficulty level. The more severe the withdrawal symptoms, the harder it can become for someone to stick with their recovery process. The following are some of the most difficult drugs to quit.

Prescription Painkillers

Often originally prescribed to help manage pain levels after an accident or surgery, prescription painkillers have become one of the most frequently abused narcotics on the market. More often than not, these drugs are opioids that, while effective at numbing the pain from the injury, can quickly become highly addictive if you take more than the prescribed dosage.

Our bodies can become used to that initial dosage, and we decide to self-medicate to attempt to get the same results we experienced before. Self-medication can ultimately lead to full-blown addiction and become one of the more difficult drugs to quit. You will start feeling withdrawal symptoms as soon as you hit the 12-hour mark since your last dose. The side effects often include shakes, sweating, chills, nausea, vomiting, and more.


Providing a similar sensation to prescription painkillers, heroin has become one of the most popular illegal drugs. It’s also one of the most difficult ones to quit. Heroin can be injected, snorted, or smoked to achieve the addictive high, and its withdrawal symptoms are the same as the aforementioned prescription painkillers.


A Schedule II controlled substance, cocaine’s popularity rose in the 70s and 80s, spawning the even more addictive crack cocaine variant. It’s a powerful stimulant that releases an intense rush to our pleasure centers. It’s a highly addictive and binge-able narcotic that remains one of the hardest to quit for addicts.

As soon as the withdrawal symptoms begin, it usually coincides with the addict having trouble feeling any kind of pleasure without the substance in their system. They can start to feel irritable, restless, depressed, and anxiety-fueled, potentially leading to suicidal thoughts. In these cases, addicts may relapse and fall back into old habits to feel alive again.


This mad-made stimulant follows a similar “binge and crash” pattern of cocaine users. With powder and crystal varieties, meth can create a powerful and highly addictive high in users — with the crystal version providing longer-lasting effects. Sustained methamphetamine abuse can lead to feelings of depression, fatigue, and intense cravings after it’s worn off. During their withdrawal process, addicts can lash out violently and hurt themselves or others. If they are aware that it’s possible, they may decide that quitting isn’t worth the hassle and continue with their current habits.


Commonly known as benzos, this type of narcotic consists of prescription sedatives like Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. Designed to help reduce the patient’s anxiety levels and get more sleep, benzo abuse can trigger highs and side effects similar to alcohol abuse. Even if you use the drugs as directed by your doctor, you can still potentially form a debilitating dependence.

As soon as you become dependent on a particular benzo, quitting can become difficult because your brain feels like you need it to function properly. Now that your system doesn’t have a substance actively suppressing the nerves from firing, your brain can feel overloaded with sensations. Withdrawal symptoms can include recurring insomnia or anxiety, muscle pain, increased sweating, nausea, and more.


While alcohol alone can prove incredibly addictive, part of the problem that makes quitting so difficult stems from the overwhelming social acceptance it has garnered. Of all the drugs and substances listed, alcohol remains the most widely available and legal substance.

People tend to use drinking as a way to loosen up and become the social lubricant they need to interact with others. As they continue to drink, their mind associates the consumption with a good time and when they feel the freest. They often view getting sober as losing part of their identity and missing time spent with their friends. While the alcohol withdrawal symptoms can prove difficult to deal with, sometimes the psychological associations make quitting much more difficult.

How an Addiction Rehab Program Can Help

Sometimes the best way to quit one of these drugs is to realize that you cannot do it alone. You need some help to navigate your recovery and get the support you need to quit for good. With the help of a proven addiction rehab program in Levittown, PA, addicts can receive the long-term support they need to navigate their impulses and develop coping skills to avoid falling into old habits.

Steps to Recovery have provided our patients with a wide range of addiction therapy programs designed to help with their situation and symptoms. Our alcohol addiction and heroin addiction treatment programs have helped countless people get through the most difficult stages of their recovery and help them when they’re struggling with addiction the most. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact our team to learn more about our support groups and rehab programs.