It’s no secret; drugs play a big role in our society. And over the years we have seen certain drugs become increasingly popular, which has led to them becoming more addictive.
Ranking them on their addictive qualities can be difficult though, since people react differently to distinct substances. Despite that fact, a group of addiction experts that includes specialists from the Royal College of Psychiatrists as well as scientists, chemists, and pharmacologists took a stab at it.
Read on to find out what the top 8 addictive drugs on the planet are, hopefully after reading it you’ll be more aware of the dangers of each.
Heroin: It’s been called the king of narcotics for a long time, so it’s no surprise that it ended up on the rankings, and also as the #1 addictive drug. It has the ability to quickly penetrate the brain and activate the brains “reward system”.
It subsequently tricks the brain into stopping the reward feeling production, which is why users will eventually stop experiencing any positive feelings without the drug. This is the main reason why users often crave the drug. The dependence rating for Heroin is 2.89.
Crack Cocaine: Crack is the purest form of cocaine. It appears as yellowish-white rocks, and is mainly ingested through a heated glass pipe. Exactly like heroin, crack cocaine activates the brains reward system and causes large amounts of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that is directly responsible for the release of feelings and pleasure.
Users often smoke it rather than snort it because it travels to the brain quicker which results in an immediate high that lasts about 15 minutes. Because the effects are short-lived, users will repeatedly use the drug to sustain the high. The dependence rating for crack cocaine is 2.82.
Nicotine: People really underestimate the addictive potency of nicotine just because it’s legal. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 35 million smokers attempt/want to quit each year. However, 85% of that attempt to quit, relapse in a week.
Half of the addictive nature of nicotine comes from its ability to trigger the brains reward system by increasing the amount of dopamine. But nicotine also mimics another chemical in the brain – the nicotinic receptors. Regular smoking reduces the ability to react to these receptors, thus people need to keep smoking to obtain regular brain function. The dependence rating for nicotine is also 2.82.
Methadone: This addictive drug is usually used to treat heroin or morphine addictions, so from a clinical aspect, this is a good drug to be addicted to. Though becoming addicted to this drug from while under direct supervision is low (1%), those who take it recreationally can quickly become addicted.
The effects of this drug are very similar to heroin, but the withdrawal can be very painful and difficult. The average time frame is a month. The dependence rating for methadone is 2.62.
Methamphetamine: Two chemicals in the brain are imitated when this drug is consumed: dopamine and norepinephrine, both which are responsible for feelings and alertness.
Meth can release up to 10 times the normal level of dopamine and norepinephrine, which chemically messes up the balance of the brain. What is worse is that meth can also damage these two neurotransmitters, which leads to a decrease in their natural production. This leads to cravings and tolerance. The dependence rating for methamphetamine is 2.24.
Alcohol: Like many other drugs on this list, alcohol triggers the brains reward system and produces satisfaction and pleasure. It also increases the brains levels of endorphin’s, which is the brains natural painkiller. Which is why when most people get drunk, all their problems go away.
Alcohol withdrawal is also among the worst of all the drug withdrawals. It can become so severe that it can also result in death. This is just another reason why over 17.9 million Americans were addicted to it in 2010. The dependence rating for nicotine is 2.13.
Cocaine: Though cocaine does not have the same withdrawal symptoms as alcohol does, it does trick the brain in the same way. It drastically increases the level of dopamine which causes intense cravings.
Though the quickest way to experience the effects of cocaine is through smoking crack, snorting cocaine is not far behind. Like crack, cocaine has a short effect span, so people will use it multiple times to sustain the high. The dependence rate for cocaine is 2.13.
Amphetamines: Not as addictive as meth, but still prays on the brains reward system. Aside from causing quick tolerance and cravings, amphetamine offers a wide range of effects.
It increases weight loss, helps build confidence, increases energy, and gives you feelings of self-confidence. For these reasons, users find it very hard to quit or they don’t want to quit at all. The dependence rate for amphetamine is 1.95.