Many people wonder what substances are the most addictive on the face of the planet. And, while the list of most addictive substances may be subjective and differ from person to person, these five most common addictions accurately portray the scope of highly addictive substances and their effect on the world population. So, let’s explore the five most addictive substances according to Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services.
This legal substance is not only one of the most addictive chemicals in the world, but it is widely known as the most damaging substance due to its effect on the human body. While not as addictive as other substances like opioids and nicotine, about ¼ of people who try alcohol end up developing a dependence at some point. Furthermore, according to the National Institute of Health, in the year 2015 alone, over 15 million people were reported to exhibit behaviors of alcohol use disorder.
Barbiturates are specific prescription medications that are usually offered to individuals struggling with insomnia and/or generalized anxiety disorder. While they do work to help individuals diagnosed with these issues, they are also commonly used recreationally due to their euphoric effects with low dosing. However, at higher dosages, barbiturates can lead to respiratory failure and even death, so they are highly dangerous without medical supervision. Fortunately, due to the recognition of the addictive nature of these prescriptions, they are no longer as widely prescribed. So, not nearly as many people are addicted to barbiturates as, say, in the ’80s.
Nicotine is not only the most addictive substance on earth, but it’s easily the most deadly. It’s the addictive component found in tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, and vape oils. According to the National Institutes of Health, nicotine is not as addictive as cocaine. However, nicotine use, especially daily, often leads to a lifestyle of addictive behaviors involving the use of nicotine. In fact, it’s reported that over ⅔ of individuals who try smoking cigarettes end up addicted to smoking cigarettes. Nicotine is not only third on our list because of the rate of people who end up using, but because of the number of people who end up dying because of using this substance. According to a certain study, it’s projected that over 8 million will die from complications that result from nicotine use annually by the year 2030.
Cocaine is so addictive because it raises the normal levels of released dopamine threefold, according to studies. Dopamine is a naturally produced neurotransmitter that allows for the reward process of the brain. So, when people regularly use cocaine, their natural reward process is thrown off. And, they end up constantly searching for that same high by continuing the use of cocaine. Like alcohol, almost ¼ of people who use cocaine will become physically dependent upon it at one point of their life or another. But, because cocaine isn’t as accessible as legal drugs like alcohol and nicotine but still affects so many people, it’s higher on the list of most addictive substances.
First on the list of most common addiction is heroin, an illicit street opioid. While cocaine can increase the stimulation of the release of dopamine in the brain by three times the normal rate, heroin can do so by 200%. So, the likelihood that an individual will use heroin again to experience this high is even more likely than cocaine or other drugs. As the most addictive drug in the world, heroin affects society in a way that is incomparable to other substances. As most know by now, the US is being plagued by an opioid epidemic brought on by pharmaceutical opioid drugs and increasing addictive components of street heroin (fentanyl). As a result, thousands lose loved ones every year due to the most addictive substance on earth.
Getting Help for the Most Common Addictions
If you are addicted to one of the five substances listed above, know that you are not alone. And, that hope is alive and real for those who seriously want to break free from the chains of addiction. If you’re ready to take the first step on your journey to a life of health free from addiction, Diablo Valley Drug & Alcohol Services has the support and clinical care you need! Contact us today to learn more about our program and what we can do to help.