What are the Most Addictive Substances out There? The Answer Might Surprise You
People can become addicted to pretty much anything, depending on their unique conditions and personality. Food, shopping, drugs… There are so many different addictive things out there in the world, and some are clearly worse than others. Have you ever wondered how they compare?
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most addictive things out there. However, I didn’t just come up with all of these rankings (well, maybe I did come up with 2 of them…), they are based on research conducted by a group of psychiatrists, chemists, and other addiction specialists. They have come up with “addictiveness” values for each of the following substances on a scale of 0-3, 3 being the most possibly addictive.
10. Amphetamines (1.95)
Amphetamines are a class of drug related to the infamous Methamphetamine. They are usually pharmaceutical grade drugs in the form of a pill, that are then resold without a prescription illegally. Ritalin and Adderall are two common forms of amphetamines.
Although amphetamines are the least addictive substance on our list, they provide additional benefits that discourage users from ever wanting to quit. They can cause weight loss, boosted mood and confidence, and elevated energy. Unfortunately, the longer we use these medications the harder it is to quit, and we develop more and more complications over time.
9. Cocaine (2.13)
Cocaine is derived from the coca plant, native to South America. The coca leaf is a sacred plant among Andean cultures located in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador. However, when the coca leaf is mixed with hydrochloric acid, the result is powder cocaine. The effects of cocaine are stimulating, which means it gives us euphoria, energy, and extra confidence.
8. Peanut Putter (2.13**)
Excuse me, I had to run to the pantry for some more PB.
Equally as addictive as cocaine, peanut butter sinks its hooks into everyone who tries it. Experts agree that here in the USA, we’re currently experiencing a PB-addiction epidemic! Everyone is eating it!!
However, considering peanut butter is awesome, full of protein, and vegan, I think it’s just fine to have a little PB-addiction 😉
/OK, maybe I made this one up, no psychiatrists actually rated PB as a 2.13 in addictiveness./
7. Alcohol (2.13)
Since alcohol is a legal substance, and it’s socially acceptable for us to drink together and celebrate with alcohol, we forget that it’s also incredibly addictive. Also, we are less likely to notice or take action when an addiction is developing since alcohol is so socially acceptable.
Of all addictive substance on this list, alcohol has the most severe and dangerous withdrawal conditions. Some people with especially severe addiction to alcohol develop a potentially lethal condition called Delirium Tremens if they try to quit drinking cold turkey.
6. Methamphetamine (2.24)
Also known as just Meth, this drug functions as an upper and is highly addictive. It’s usually cooked in less-than-ideal conditions by non-chemists using makeshift equipment. This means that meth is often impure, contaminated, and sometimes adulterated with other dangerous substances to increase the bulk.
Meth is a dangerous drug because it destroys our teeth, skin, mental abilities, cardiovascular system, and more. Longterm use can even cause death.
5. Methadone (2.62)
Ironically, methadone is a prescription medication used to help heroin addicts transition as they work on getting sober. Ironically, however, methadone is addictive in itself and now people are using it recreationally when heroin or pain pills aren’t available. Methadone is in the same class of drugs as morphine and heroin, so it produces similar sensations.
In the year 2012, nearly 4.5 thousand deaths resulted from methadone use.
4. Nicotine (2.82)
Cigarettes, cigars, spliffs, hookah, chewing tobacco: the addictive alkaloid nicotine shows up in all of these different tobacco products. At this point, it’s pretty much common knowledge that nicotine is addictive, but did you know that it’s equally addictive as crack cocaine?
How many people do you know who smoke cigarettes, and admit that they wish they could quit? Quite a few, I’m sure. Tobacco gets us hooked chemically, because of the nicotine content, and also emotionally. Many of us grow accustomed to smoking while drinking or socializing. This makes it hard to go out and have fun without also craving a smoke.
3. Crack Cocaine (2.82)
This drug is made by mixing and heating powder cocaine with a base (high pH substance) like baking soda, and water. This process yields the purest form of cocaine possible. Because of this, crack produces a more intense and fast-acting high than powder cocaine. The effects usually last for less than a few minutes. For this reason, users will often take multiple hits, and use the drug over and over again to maintain their high.
2. LOVE (2.87**)
Have you ever heard the saying that love is a drug? Well, it’s not actually, but it is an emotional state that can surely become addictive!
Love is a beautiful thing that helps us to boost our mood, forget our problems, and feel more confident. It’s supposed to make us feel good, but it only works when the love is true and sincere. When we’re compulsively seeking out new lovers and getting into iffy relationships because of it, love can actually make us feel worse in the long run.
Brad Lamm, CIP explains:
Love addiction is characterized by compulsive or obsessive patterns in romance, sexuality, and relationships that have harmful consequences for the addict and their partners. The love addict pursues romance and the high of new love without ever developing genuine intimacy and connection. Love becomes a source of an emotional rush that distorts reality. The subsequent terror and fear of abandonment that follows are too much to bear.
** I made up this numerical value, but scientists and mental health experts all agree that love can certainly be very addictive!
1. Heroin (2.89)
The #1 most addictive substance, Heroin, is a form of opioid painkiller like methadone and morphine. Unlike methadone which I mentioned earlier, heroin is not available by prescription; it must be purchased illegally. Therefore, it’s more dangerous than other opioids because it’s often impure, contaminated, or cut down.
What makes heroin unique, is that it rapidly breaks down the brain’s built-in reward system composed of dopamine and endorphins. Over time, heroin addicts find it impossible to experience any pleasure outside of using the drug. This is why they keep coming back despite all of the harm.
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