Drug and Alcohol - Trends and Statistics

9 Most Addictive Drugs: What You Need to Know

What Are The 9 Most Addictive Drugs?

What are the 9 most addictive drugs? You may be shocked to hear at least two of them are common ... and legal. Learn more about them in our blog!

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Trends and Statistics

February 22, 2023

All drugs are addictive. But what drugs are the most addictive?

To understand the root cause of the issue, one must be aware that no one wants to become addicted to drugs. Generally, drug addiction starts as an experiment among teenagers. Most teenage drug users try vapes and cannabis out of curiosity … or to escape bad emotions and environments. But soon afterward, they get caught in the vicious web of addiction.

The spiraling out is not unprecedented, but most people are in denial that they can control it. The biggest misconception about addiction is that most people suffering from this condition are unaware that they will be diagnosed with it. Whether it's fear, embarrassment, or shame, they do not want to be aware of it.

This lack of self-awareness makes the conditions even more difficult. Addiction is often a debilitating disorder because it affects the user's physical and mental health and their family members and friends. They do not remain unscathed because of the altered behavior of the drug user. Addiction impacts a person's behavior; in many cases, people isolate themselves. Friction develops between the relations, and often, it ends up with broken relationships. To mend these relationships, a lot of time and patience must be invested.

But the first step towards getting things right is by seeking medical help. 

By the Numbers

Substance use disorder (SUD) or drug addiction is one of the leading healthcare issues in the world right now. In the United States of America alone, 37.309 million people above the age of 12 are using illegal drugs. Let's talk about drug addiction as a health condition. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics notes that nearly 70% of illegal drug users below the age of 13 develop substance use disorder in the next seven years.

Talking specifically about our country, around 600 billion dollars are spent on substance abuse and addiction. This includes healthcare expenses, legal costs, low productivity rates at the workplace, and more. Apart from the financial aspect of drug addiction, millions of lives have been destroyed by this disease.

As mentioned before, there is a lack of awareness among people regarding drugs and narcotic substances. In this blog, we will be talking about some of the most addictive drugs in the world. We will also discuss how these drugs work and how one can recover from the highly addictive drugs. Read ahead!

The Most Addictive Drugs: What Makes Them So Addictive?

Historically, drug and alcohol addiction was considered a moral failing rather than a health disease. It was seen as an individual flaw, like someone wasting their money and time on gambling. Thankfully, due to various scientific research and studies, addiction is finally recognized as a chronic health condition that can be treated with comprehensive care with a blend of medication and therapies.

Addiction is generally categorized as chronic, yet treatable but relapsing brain dysfunction. There is also the pleasure and reward aspect, where an individual continues to consume the drugs even after knowing the devastating effects. So what exactly makes these drugs so addictive that a person loses control over themselves?

There are various forms of drug substances, and they all have different effects on the brain. 

Almost all forms of dangerous drugs are addictive, but some are more intense than others. Despite differences, these drugs' effects on the brain are pretty similar. Our brain is connected with various neurons. With the help of neurotransmitters, our brain communicates and sends signals. There are many neurotransmitters, but we will talk about dopamine in this case.

Dopamine's function is to carry chemical messages among billions of brain neurons. After the delivery of the message, the brain absorbs dopamine and recycles it. But unfortunately, these functions get compromised as dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that gets affected by the use of drugs. The narcotic substance produces a surge of dopamine in the basal ganglia part of the brain. There is too much dopamine to be absorbed and recycled by the brain.

The basal ganglia are the portion of the brain that controls the rewarding part. It also learns what things are rewarding, such as eating, intimacy, etc. So, as someone starts abusing drugs, the concentration of dopamine increases. It connects the rewarding feelings with the surge of dopamine. Hence, it becomes difficult to quit drugs when our brains and bodies depend on them. Ultimately, our brain learns to associate the substance with pleasure, compels our body to continue seeking the drugs regardless of the adverse outcomes. 

Do You Know The 9 Most Addictive Drugs?

What Are the 9 Most Addictive Drugs?

As mentioned above, there are a variety of drugs that can be classified into various categories. All these drugs have an addictive nature; many are illegal to sell, produce and purchase all across the world. Many people think that since millions worldwide use weed or marijuana, it may not negatively affect health. This is a misconception as there is an increase in the recent number of people addicted to cannabis.

We also have the category of some of the most addictive drugs. These are the types of substances that can become a part of the habit in a concise amount of time. On top of that, as soon as a person tries to cut them off and quit, they go through some harsh effects of withdrawal.

Similarly, these addictive drugs are capable of developing quick tolerance. It means that when a body becomes accustomed to a particular drug, the person needs to take more doses to feel the same euphoria. Let's now talk about the most addictive drug list. 

Here are some of the most addictive drugs types:

#1: Heroin

Heroin is one of the most addictive opioid drugs in the world. It consistently tops the list of highly addictive substances because it harms mental and physical health. The effects of heroin can differ according to how the user consumes it, smokes, snorts, or injects it into the body. Studies have noted that opioids like heroin can increase dopamine release by up to 200%. As a result, there is a high risk of opioid overdose, especially if a person injects heroin into their body. Opioid addiction often leads to death. 

#2: Crack / Cocaine

Made from the coca plant, crack, or cocaine is generally inhaled or snorted through the nose. Like any other of the most addictive drugs, cocaine has a high risk of overdose. It is often mixed with other substances like fentanyl, which is dangerous. Crack increases dopamine levels, which creates abnormal communication between nerve cells. If someone tries to stop and quit cocaine addiction, they may experience withdrawal effects like a runny nose, loss of smelling sensation, nosebleeds, and more.  

#3: Methamphetamine

Methamphetamines are also known by their street names, like meth and crystal. It is a very addictive stimulant that can produce the effect of euphoria, ecstasy, and high. Unfortunately, meth abuse can lead to long-term health problems like brain damage, organ failure, psychosis, and more. It's easily one of the most addictive drugs.

#4: Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most abused and addictive substances used worldwide. It is said that every 1 out of 12 adults has suffered from alcohol addiction in the past or is still living in dependency. Even though an age limit is imposed, it does not stop teenagers and underage people from indulging in drinks. Like narcotic substances, alcohol too impacts the dopamine level and relaxes our body. It also enhances the mood and lowers inhibitions. Some of its withdrawal effects include vomiting, headache, anxiety, insomnia, and more. Some of the most addictive drugs are even legal.

#5: Nicotine

Like alcohol, nicotine is also a legal substance easily accessible at any corner of the globe. Nicotine is generally found in tobacco products, vapes, e-cigs, and more. Like alcohol, nicotine also has an age imposition that only 21 and above can purchase the item. Despite continuous health warnings against the products, the sales of cigarettes and other nicotine products have not gone down. Some common health hazards of using nicotine include increased blood pressure and heart rate, respiratory problems, heart problems, and more.  Ask anyone who's tried to quit smoking and they'll tell you it's one of the most addictive drugs.

#6: Methadone

On the street, methadone is also known by nicknames like chip cookies, amidine, salvia, and more. Unfortunately, the original intended use of methadone is to control the intense craving experienced by heroin addicts. But they are also abused by many regularly. As an opioid drug, methadone is one of the most addictive drugs. Some of the withdrawal effects of methadone include muscle tremors, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, and more. 

#7: Benzodiazepines

Benzos or benzodiazepines are prescription medications used to treat patients who struggle with anxiety disorders. The popular medication Xanax comes under the category of benzodiazepines only. Benzos are a newer version of barbiturates and have almost replaced them in the market. Unfortunately, they are one of the most addictive drugs prescribed and can easily lead to a drug overdose. As a result, most people use it for other purposes like getting high. 

#8: Barbiturates

Barbiturates are now less in the market circulation of the United States of America. Generally found in the pill form, barbiturates have been replaced mainly by benzos now. These precipitation medications were used to treat people with depression and other disorders. However, due to over-usage and abuse, doctors started avoiding prescribing barbiturates. Some of the withdrawal effects of this medication include insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, psychosis, seizures, and more. It is also very easily overdosed by people. In its heyday, it was one of the most addictive drugs.

#9: Amphetamines

Amphetamines are very much similar to methamphetamine. They are stimulants that are generally prescribed to individuals dealing with ADHD and ADD. A popular medication under this category is Adderall. However, they are also one of the most addictive drugs and can cause side effects like heart issues, insomnia, dry mouth, slurred speech, constipation, and more.

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How to Recover From The Most Addictive Drugs

One cannot get rid of addiction by withdrawing from it. The various symptoms mentioned above can be deadly, and it is tough to manage them without medical supervision. Similarly, if you are not seeking help due to embarrassment and shame, it is crucial to remember that the impact of drug abuse and addiction is not limited to your health but to your loved ones. Plus, it has various dire effects on your body.

So, if you or someone you love has finally decided to seek treatment from a drug rehab facility, make sure you are aware of the treatment varieties. The rehab provides a customized plan based on the intensity of the addiction and your health condition. If the disease is severe, it is most likely that the person is referred to an inpatient drug rehab program.

Here the patient receives comprehensive care with proper treatment plans while residing at the facility. Others with less severe symptoms can be referred to an outpatient drug rehab program where the patients can enjoy the comfort of their homes while getting treatment from the facility. Whether it is inpatient or outpatient facility, the patients have to go through the following process:

  • Drug Detox

  • Group and Individual Therapy

  • Aftercare Programs

Recovering from any drug substances is a long and hard road but to maintain sobriety one has to remain determined. So, it is always better to seek help from loved ones and rehab centers. 

Don't Let the Most Addictive Drugs Control Your Life. Reach Out to The Edge Treatment Center Today!

Drug rehab centers are medical facilities specially designed for people struggling with drug addiction. If addiction to one of the most addictive drugs is controlling your life, know hope: Drug addiction is treatable.

Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today. Our skilled staff will help you find effective medical drug detox. When you're ready to attend our outpatient drug rehab, we'll make sure you're able to break the hold of the most addictive drugs and live a happier life free from substance abuse.

Want to know more about the most addictive drugs and the pathways out of addiction? Contact The Edge Treatment Center now!

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We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.