Drug addiction is a problem of the modern world, although drug abuse is something that has been a part of humanity for as long as we can remember. Our early hominid ancestors definitely used psychoactive substances, but the production and the harm addictive substances can cause has only grown larger over the last few decades. Drug addiction is viewed as a disease in today’s day and age, and there is plenty of research that shows how addictive substances limit the brain and lead to the inability to control the use of a drug.
Determining what the most addictive substance known to man is can be done if we decide on the parameters first. There are three main categories where we can sort the substances:
First, we look at the intensity of pleasure that people get from drug use. Although this may sound like a category that will fall down to subjective descriptions, the similarities between people who get addicted tell us a different story. Secondly, we determine the level of physical dependence the substance causes. The final category is the one who focuses on psychological dependence. Based on this system, these are the ten most addictive substances in the world.
There are opposing thoughts on why cannabis should be on this list. Although there are battling arguments: one discussing how beneficial cannabis is for humans, and others are saying that it is a gateway drug. However, the fact that millions of people all over the world use it daily makes it our final entry.
Cannabis products are used to help people that suffer from chronic or nerve pain, especially people that have multiple sclerosis. It is also used to help with tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease and in the treatment of glaucoma.
Another substance that is used to fight drug abuse made it to this list. It is prescribed to decrease the need a person feels when withdrawing. Still, it causes a slight euphoric and sedated feeling. This is much more so for people who do not suffer from drug abuse problems.
When this substance is combined with a binding agent like sugar or caffeine, it creates a drug known as Meth. When smoked or snorted, it causes people to feel energetic and confident. However, it increases the heart rate, which can cause serious problems. However, withdrawal symptoms disappear in a month after a person stays clean.
Xanax and Valium belong to this drug group. Although they are prescribed as drugs that help to reduce anxiety and help people sleep by relaxing the muscles, Benzos are highly addictive if not used correctly. Withdrawal is tough, causing panic attacks, insomnia, and it even needs to be supervised by a professional in the most extreme cases.
These substances cause weak euphoria, and people feel a slight lack of inhibition. That anxiety relief is what makes barbiturates very addictive. Abuse causes damage to our central nervous system, and it can cause depression, mild sedation, and even coma. Withdrawal is also very hard, and people suffer from seizures, anxiety, insomnia, and psychosis.
Although this substance is used to fight heroin addiction, as it can work as a painkiller during withdrawal symptoms, it is very much abused. Methadone does not score high when it comes to the intensity of pleasure, but both physical and mental addiction to this substance is strong.
When it comes to hard stats, this is the most used psychoactive drug in the US, and it is not much different all over the world either. More than 86% of people in the US have consumed alcohol at one point in their life, and over 14 million people have disorders because of alcohol use.
What starts as a way to relax usually leads to severe medical issues like strokes, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. Even withdrawal from alcohol can be lethal, as it can cause delirium tremens.
The nicotine that is inside tobacco leaves is the substance that is responsible for creating millions of tobacco addicts all over the world. There are numerous ways you can smoke tobacco, but all of them lead to serious respiratory diseases later, due to the highly dangerous release of toxins when the tobacco is smoked.
Usually inhaled through the nose, this white powder that came from processing the coca plant highly increases dopamine levels in the brain. That is what makes it so addictive. The more you use it, the more your brain gets used to high dopamine levels, continually wanting more.
The infamous number 1 of this list belongs to heroin. This opioid derived from morphine scores the highest when it comes to all categories mentioned above. Described as the biggest possible rush of euphoria one can experience, the abuse of this drug causes the loss of white brain matter, which then affects a person’s ability to make decisions and control their behavior.