Addiction isn’t easy to measure.
We’re addicted to a lot these days; we’re addicted to our phones, to food, to video games. But where some of these range from harmless to mild nuisances, other addictions are far more pernicious.
I’m talking about some of the super-addictive substances out there that can erode your life out from under you once you’re unfortunate enough to get hooked.
There are lots of drugs to be wary of, but the question has to be asked: what is the most addictive drug?
Things like alcohol and barbiturates rate highly on the addiction spectrum—and they’re not worth taking lightly—but below are the 5 most addictive substances to steer clear of or to watch family members for.
This drug can come in both powdered and crystal meth. It produces a feeling of euphoria and can increase the ability to focus and the user’s alertness.
It is very easy to become dependent on meth, and once the brain has become accustomed to it, it will demand more and more. Cravings, suicidal thoughts, damage to sections of the brain, and a permanent loss of focus and the ability to feel pleasure can result from using meth.
Used to lessen cravings to opioids in clinical settings, abuse of this drug will still result in dependence. It can cause hallucinations and lightheadedness.
Only larger quantities of methadone tend to create a high in the user, and unfortunately, this can lead to overdose and death.
Perhaps it’s surprising to see this drug on the list, but nicotine is renowned for being difficult to quit, placing it among the most addictive drugs.
Part of the problem is it is so commonly available—and in many forms. It rewards the brain by increasing pleasure, mood, and cognition, and it demands frequent ingestion.
Though you’re not worried about death by overdose with nicotine, it spoils your health long-term in diverse ways. Tens of millions of Americans have died from the effects of smoking.
Like meth, cocaine comes in a powdered form and a rock crystal, or ‘crack cocaine’ form. Cocaine creates a strong but brief high that is incredibly addicting in a way that demands greater and greater doses.
Users feel excited, happy, and experience high energy, but these positives precede a crash that replaces them with depressed feelings, anxiety and anger, mental and physical exhaustion, and intense cravings for more.
What is the Most Addictive Drug of All?
This is the big one.
Though the same is true of the drugs above, with this most addictive substance I urge you, if you or a loved one are struggling with dependence on it, please look into getting help.
Counseling or substance abuse treatment centers can help you free yourself and get your life back.
Heroin is considered the most addictive drug of all. An opioid derived from poppies, it comes in powdered form and users often smoke, swallow or inject it.
Heroin binds to receptors in the brain to release dopamine; this creates sensations of intense pleasure. However, once that euphoria leaves, pain, depression, feeling nauseated, insomnia, anxiety, and hallucination arrive in its wake.
Dependence on the drug can occur after just a few uses, and death by overdose becomes an increasing possibility as users up their dosage levels.
The Way Out
The question of what is the most addictive drug isn’t always this straightforward. What might tempt one person back after a single try may not be the same for another.
The definition of addiction itself can differ from organization to organization, too.
Even with some debate ongoing on what the most addictive substance truly is, one thing is clear: all the drugs listed above are dangerously addictive.
If you are concerned for yourself or for someone you care about regarding addiction to either these or another substance, please reach out and get help. It is not too late.
If you have any other health and wellness concerns, check out our other articles to help guide you.