From over-the-counter to on the street, there are many different kinds of drugs available. But out of all of the options out there, what are the most addictive drugs? The answer may surprise you.
Here are the top 10 most addictive drugs along with their effects and symptoms.
Amphetamines are a stimulant and an appetite suppressant commonly used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and depression. The drug acts on a reward circuit in the brain, causing rapid tolerance and desire for more if used frequently. The withdrawal can cause severe depression and lethargy.
Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription psychoactive drug used to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal. Long-term use creates dependence for the drug and increases the symptoms originally meant to treat. Withdrawal can be even worse as it can create new physical and mental problems.
Methadone is a painkiller that causes a pleasant, dream-like state of mind and is used to help opioid drug users reduce the effects of opioid withdrawal. Methadone has similar effects to heroin and morphine and unfortunately, the drug can be addictive itself. According to some accounts, if abused, methadone has the possibility of being even deadlier than some opioid drugs, like heroin. Methadone continues to remain controversial in the medical field.
Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, also known by its more common name of GHB, is a naturally occurring substance in the central nervous system. As a drug, it causes feelings of peacefulness and euphoria. Excessive use disrupts the normal balance of brain circuits that control rewards, memory, and cognition. Mixed with alcohol, it is known as the “date rape” drug. Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, and tremors.
Much like many street drugs, nicotine mimics a common neurotransmitter for normal brain functions. Though it doesn’t cause the same rush as heroin or crack, it has the highest rate of addicts and is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths of smokers in the US alone. Withdrawal is difficult, but possible through many products designed to wean smokers off of nicotine. These products typically come in the form of patches or gum.
Alcohol is legal and often socially acceptable as it relaxes, reduces anxiety, and un-inhibits users. Drinking can be mentally healthy in moderation, but if abused, can easily become a problem. Excessive drinking causes loss of control over how much you consume while trying to get the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms can range from nausea, extreme agitation, tremors, and seizures. In severe cases, withdrawal can cause death.
Powder cocaine is known to have a short-lived high that makes a steady stream of dopamine in the brain and causes the natural dopamine receptors to shut down for about 15 to 20 minutes. Cocaine becomes addictive as the brain craves the dopamine, but can’t produce enough without the drug. Withdrawal causes extreme mood swings, irregular heart rate, sexual dysfunctions, or even stroke.
3. Crack Cocaine
Crack is the freebase form of cocaine and has a faster, higher rush than powdered cocaine. As a result, crack can be far more addictive and can cause the euphoric effects to kick in much sooner. Smoking crack damages the lungs by constricting blood vessels and averting oxygen and blood from circulating. The withdrawal is brutal and causes insomnia, panic attacks, dizziness, vomiting, cold sweat, and shivers.
2. Crystal Meth
Similar to cocaine, crystal meth takes advantage of dopamine in the brain but unlike cocaine, it actually mimics dopamine and norepinephrine. This causes the neurons to release more of both while training your brain to need more in order to function. The meth hangover causes the body to crash and feel mentally and physically weak for days on end. Withdrawal symptoms range from psychosis, hallucinations, memory loss, and severe depression that can lead to suicide.
Heroin is the most addictive drug available today and is known to release about 100 times the dopamine of an orgasm. Not only does it provide a significant high, but it also takes over much of the brain’s natural chemical construct. This can cause the body to literally need the drug to survive. As a result, withdrawal can be deadly. If not deadly, it is a brutal and long detox that is said to be the worst kind of sickness that can last for a straight week.
Each of these substances are known to be the most addictive drugs on the market today. All of these drugs should be avoided because they can create a dependency, which can develop into an addiction, and even cause death.
If you have an addiction to these drugs or any other substances, contact The Addiction Advisor for help at 1-800-259-1361. You’ll be connected to an advisor who can answer your questions and direct you to the best drug and alcohol addiction treatment options available.