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What Are the Most Addictive Substances on Earth?

Alexa Iocco Addiction Treatment , Alcohol Rehab , Drug Rehab , Drug Rehab March 15, 2021

What Are the Most Addictive Substances on Earth Resurgence – There are many drugs that are highly addictive. What is the most addictive substance?

These Are The 5 Most Addictive Substances on Earth

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that approximately 22.7 million Americans (8.6%) have a drug or alcohol addiction. An addiction is defined by compulsive-seeking behavior, tolerance to the substance, and the most telling of signs is the withdrawal symptoms when the substance is stopped being used. 

While any substance can be addicting, even sugar and table salt, many substances both illicit and legal can be considered some of the most addictive substances on earth. Researchers have thoroughly studied the addiction signs in all substances that vie for the number one spot of the most addictive substance on earth. What is the most addictive substance?

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What Is Substance Addiction?

Science has provided an empirical understanding of why and how substance addiction occurs. Addiction was previously thought to be the result of weak-willed or morally flawed individuals. Those stigmas are still common today.

The world of science views addiction as a health issue as opposed to a moral or willpower problem. As a result, scientists have placed more funding and research into finding ways to treat drug addiction and find out which substances are the most harmful and most addictive. We now know that substance addiction is not just a behavioral problem but is a medical disorder that changes brain chemistry and alters behavior as a result, not the other way around.

Several environmental and biological factors contribute to the risks of substance addiction. Those factors are also major variables for the development and progression of addiction. While we have now developed and implemented effective and viable treatment for substance addiction, the problem remains a major issue for many Americans. Researcher Dr. David Nutt and his colleagues performed a study to catalog the most addictive substances.

What is the most addictive substance? The following are the five most addictive substances on earth.

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5) Alcohol

The fifth most addictive substance on Earth happens to be legal. Millions of people consume alcohol daily throughout the world. Many people drink socially or in moderation. But some do not stop there. Some people abuse alcohol by drinking it every day for long periods of the day and/or night. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and it also causes the brain to release dopamine and endorphins.

However, consuming too much alcohol regularly will lead to tolerance, which will lead to the user drinking more alcohol to feel the effects they had enjoyed previously. In 2015, 15.1 million adults aged 18 years or older had alcohol use disorder, with approximately 88,000 deaths from alcohol-related causes. It is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

If you are attempting to withdrawal from alcohol, it can be lethal. It is advised to seek professional help when attempting to quit drinking. The following are symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:

  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium Tremens

4) Barbiturates

The number four most addictive substance on Earth are barbiturates, otherwise colloquially known as “downers.” Barbiturates are central nervous system depressant medications that affect the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This slows down or shuts down signals in certain parts of the brain.

Physicians prescribe barbiturates to treat insomnia and certain anxiety disorders. However, many barbiturates have been substituted by benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Klonopin. Barbiturates have been replaced mostly because they can be very addictive.  Barbiturates are known to have the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Delirium
  • Cardiovascular failure
  • Anxiety
  • Hypotension

3) Nicotine

Nicotine, next to alcohol, is the most commonly used legal drug to consume. It is the third most addictive substance on Earth. There are plenty of situations where people try to stop smoking but find themselves unable. Nicotine is smoked or chewed through tobacco products. When the nicotine is delivered to the brain, it mimics receptors that cause a rush of increased dopamine that is similar to how cocaine operates in the brain. Nicotine causes many health risks, including death.

Nicotine is the number one leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S. Currently, there are 16 million people who have a serious illness that was linked to smoking. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills approximately half of its users, tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year, with 890,000 being non-smokers who have been exposed to second-hand smoke. Just like many other substances, quitting nicotine may also come with the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Psychological cravings for tobacco
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain
  • Cloudy thinking and judgment
  • Restlessness
  • Slower heart rate

2) Cocaine

Cocaine was first popularized in the 1980s during the club scene. But today, it is still a fairly popular and commonly abused drug. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that creates a sense of intense euphoria, energy, and focus.

The primary route of administration is insufflation because it reaches the brain instantaneously, producing the intense and addicting effects of the drug. The effects are usually felt within seconds and may last between five and 90 minutes. The half-life of the drug wears off fairly quickly, so the user consumes more cocaine. This process can be repeated until it becomes an addiction.

Cocaine raises your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Attempting to withdrawal from cocaine can be dangerous to your health, so it is important to seek medical detoxification. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Extreme cravings for the drug
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Nightmares

1) Heroin and Opioids

The most addictive substance on earth is heroin and opioids, such as Oxycontin and Hydrocodone. Heroin is an illicit substance that increases dopamine in the brain. This causes the user to feel a great sensation of euphoria and relaxation, which makes the user want to take more so that the feeling never goes away. Prescription painkillers work the same way that heroin does.

The Drug Enforcement Agency has pressured physicians not to prescribe as many painkillers due to the recent overdoses and bouts of addiction among people who are only following doctor’s orders. Heroin is the alternative and cheaper form of the opioid. It is readily available on the black market, and it has been estimated that approximately 25% of all people who use heroin at least once will develop an addiction. One out of four people is a high number, which is part of the reason it is the number one most addictive substance on earth.

In 2016, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the number of people using heroin for the first time has increased substantially. About 170,000 people began using heroin, which is double the number since 2006. The withdrawal symptoms from heroin and opioids are extremely unpleasant and can be lethal. The following heroin and opioid withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Severe cravings for heroin
  • Cold sweats with goosebumps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe muscle and bone pain
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Sleep disturbance

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Reach Out and Receive Treatment Today

Do not wait any further. Help is available to you when you need it. You are not alone in this struggle. The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health genuinely care about you and dedicate their lives to make sure you can live yours.

To overcome substance addiction, proper drug therapy treatment is required. It is not an easy walk, but our treatment is the best option when it comes to your health. We provide the most professional treatment to give you a fighting chance in a rough battle. Let today be the day you reach out to Resurgence Behavioral Health so that you can begin to reclaim the life you have been missing.

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