5 Most Addictive Substances on Earth. Image Source: Addiction Center

5 Most Addictive Substances on Earth

What are the most addictive drugs? This question seems simple, but the answer depends on whom you ask. From the points of view different researchers, the potential for a drug to be addictive can be judged in terms of the harm it causes, the street value of the drug, the extent to which the drug activates the brain’s dopamine system, how pleasurable people report the drug to be, the degree to which the drug causes withdrawal symptoms, and how easily a person trying the drug will become hooked. According to the researchers, here we have the 5 most addictive substances on earth.

Addiction is no joke. Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.

The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as tolerance. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). In this article, we will talk about the 5 most addictive substances on earth.

A group of addiction experts came together in 2007 to publish a study in the Lancet about the most addictive substances in existence. To do this, they developed a logical scale that could measure the harm of different drugs and their potential misuse. They averaged three factors: pleasure, psychological dependence (cravings, irritability from withdrawal, etc.), and physical dependence (symptoms like a headache, nausea, etc.). They scored each drug on a scale from 0-3, where 3 was the most addictive and 0 the least. Here are the top 5 most addictive substances on the earth.

Heroin (with a score of 3)

Heroin takes the number one spot as the most addictive substance on the earth. This potent drug has an alarming rate of addiction, with one in four individuals who try heroin becoming addicted. What makes this drug particularly dangerous is that the dose that can cause death is only five times greater than the dose required for a high. Additionally, heroin has an extremely high risk of death from a relapse.

Cocaine (with a score of 2.4)

Cocaine falls under the top 5 most addictive substance on earth. An estimated 14-20 million people worldwide use cocaine, resulting in a billion-dollar industry. Cocaine reacts with the brain’s level of dopamine, preventing neurons from turning the “feel good” signal off. This results in abnormal activation of the brain’s reward pathways. An estimated 21 percent of people who try cocaine will become addicted at some point in their lifetime.

Nicotine (with a score of 2.2)

Nicotine, the highly addictive substance found in tobacco products, is the most common addiction in America. More than two-thirds of Americans who tried cigarettes or chewing tobacco report being dependent at some point during their lifetime.

Barbiturates | Downers (with a score of 2)

Barbiturates are typically used to treat anxiety and induce sleep. They interfere with chemical signaling in the brain, the effect of which is to shut down various brain regions.  Popular street names for barbiturates include blue bullets, gorillas, nembies, barbs, and pink ladies. At low doses, these drugs can produce euphoria, but at a higher dose, it can result in overdose due to suppressed breathing.

Alcohol (with a score of 1.9)

Addiction to beer, wine or liquor can have a very negative effect on the body and mind that is often irreversible. Studies have shown that alcohol increases the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward system by as much as 360 percent. This legalized substance has a death rate of over 3 million per year.

Addiction treatment remains the most effective and safest way to overcome an addiction and achieve sustained moderation, especially to any of the top 5 most addictive substances on earth. Stay away from such addictive substances in order to live a happy and joyful life.



Reference: Curiosity, Addiction Center