5 most addictive substances that may wreck anyone’s life

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5 most addictive substances that may wreck anyone’s life

Addiction is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to use a substance. Substance addiction is a major public health concern that costs thousands of lives to the United States and inflicts a huge cost on the nation and causes a number of problems – to the addicted individual, his family and community. People suffering from an addiction witness a number of disabilities and impairments that affect their daily functioning.

As their addiction deepens, they fail to meet major responsibilities at work, school or home. It affects communities by causing a number of socioeconomic problems, such as child abuse, domestic violence, homicides, accidents, crimes and homelessness.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the number of people hooked on the substances of abuse in the U.S. is phenomenal. Approximately 51.3 million people (19.1 percent) aged 12 or older are cigarette smokers, nearly 15.1 million people (5.6 percent) currently have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and 20.1 million people (7.5 percent) had substance use disorders (SUD). These eye-opening statistics present the magnitude of the problem.

The substantial number of people with the problem of addiction to various substances pose a serious challenge to addiction treatment. Depending on the addictiveness of the substance, these hurdles further increase manifold. Therefore, it becomes necessary to determine the addictiveness of substances. In 2007, David Nutt, a British drug and addiction psychiatrist, and his team of researchers developed a system for measuring the addictiveness of substances and listed 20 substances according to their potential for addiction. The system is still relevant as these substances continue to affect larger parts of population of the nation.

Determining the most addictive substances

The researchers developed a nine-category matrix of harm to assess the level of severity of different substances. The above methodology not only proved to be practical, but also was able to classify the drugs in an efficient manner. Based on the above study, the five most addictive substances are discussed below:

  • Heroin: Ranked as the most addictive drug, heroin is an opioid that was ironically marketed as a treatment for morphine addiction despite being more addictive than it. People who experiment with this drug develop dependence very quickly. Heroin triggers a rush of euphoria that is so pronounced that the brain remembers it and produces cravings for it. Moreover, the abstinence from heroin leads to a number of agonizing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Cocaine: Ranked second, cocaine is an immensely addictive stimulant. It increases the level of the brain chemical dopamine responsible for triggering pleasure and prevents it from being recycled. This results in an excessive buildup between the nerve cells. The euphoric effects of cocaine last only for about 30 minutes, which is shorter compared to other substances. Therefore, cocaine users typically take it in binges to maintain the feeling of high. Cocaine poses grave risks to a person’s overall health by inflicting problems ranging from overdosing to organ failure. Snorting cocaine damages the lining of the nasal cavity and the septum. The larger doses of cocaine can cause violent behavior, nosebleed, heart attack, stroke and even death.
  • Nicotine: Nicotine, the main addictive ingredient in tobacco, is rapidly absorbed by the lungs and delivered to the brain upon smoking. It has the potential to takes control over 200 neurochemicals, most importantly dopamine. More than two-thirds of Americans reported becoming dependent on nicotine upon trying it recreationally.
  • Barbiturates (downers): This class of drugs is used for treating anxiety and inducing sleep. The use of barbiturates has declined dramatically. They interfere with the chemical signals in the brain and shut down various brain regions. An overdose of barbiturates results in the suppression of breathing and can even lead to death.
  • Alcohol: Since alcohol is legal and is widely accepted in society, many may tend to overlook not only its harmful properties but also its addictiveness. However, it inflicts powerful effects on the brain. In a laboratory study on rats, researchers found that alcohol increases dopamine levelsin the brain’s reward system between 40 and 360 percent. Another study found that 22 percent of people who have consumed alcohol would develop dependence at some point in their life.

Get help for addiction

No substance can be taken lightly due to their serious consequences. While alcohol may be legalized almost everywhere, any amount of drinking is dangerous for one’s health and the society. Therefore, one should not give in to the demands of others to experiment such substances for fun.

If you or your loved one is addicted to substances, contact the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline to get access to some of the best drug rehabilitation centers in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-576-4147 or chat online for information about the best drug rehabilitation center clinic in Arizona.

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