Rehab 4 Addiction

When you use an addictive substance, your dopamine system in the brain becomes activated. Each year, thousands of individuals become addicted to a variety of substances.

What are the five most addictive substances in the world?

The answer is not as simple as it seems.

There are a variety of things that must be considered when determining what can be considered the most addictive substances in the world.

These factors include:

  1. The amount of harm the substance causes
  2. The withdrawal symptoms of the substance
  3. How the substance affects your dopamine system
  4. The street value of the substance
  5. How easily someone becomes hooked on the substance

We shall now reveal what we consider to be the five most addictive substances in the work.

1. Heroin

Heroin is made from morphine which naturally occurs in various seed pods of poppies. This illegal drug is highly addictive and is typically sold as a brown or white powder.

Heroin is considered the most addictive and dangerous substance on the planet. This opiate is extremely dangerous because it increases the dopamine levels in your brain by as much as 200 per cent.

If too large of a dose is taken, the risk of death increases significantly.

It is estimated that approximately 900,000 Americans use heroin. This substance can be smoked, sniffed or injected. Heroin users develop a tolerance for the substance, which means users must use higher doses or more frequent doses to get the same effect.

2. Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant that causes a short-term intense high. Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine causes the brains dopamine levels to increase by preventing the brain’s neurons from turning off dopamine, which increases the reward pathways in the brain.

Approximately 4.7million Americans have used cocaine in the past year. Cocaine can be snorted, injected or apply it to their gums. Cocaine users can build up a tolerance, causing them to take stronger or more frequent doses in order to get the same high.

3. Nicotine

Nicotine is the main ingredient found in tobacco. When someone smokes a cigarette, the nicotine in the smoke is absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs and is delivered to the brain. Nicotine increases dopamine levels in the brain by 25 to 40 per cent.

Approximately two-thirds of those who have tried tobacco become dependent. It is estimated that there are approximately one billion tobacco smokers worldwide.

Because cigarettes and other tobacco products are so readily available, nicotine is considered the third most addictive substance.

4. Barbiturates

Barbiturates are prescription medications that were created as an anti-anxiety and sleep medication. These addictive substances interfere with the body’s ability to transmit signals to the brain.

When a low dose is taken, the user will experience euphoria. At higher doses, organs in the body like begin to shut down. Barbiturates were developed as an anxiety medication and sleep medication.

When these medications are used in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs, it can create a harmful combination. Additionally, barbiturates have been used as date rape drugs.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol is a legal substance that can lead to addiction. Alcohol works by increasing the dopamine levels in the brain between 40 per cent and 360 per cent. As more of this substance is consumed, the higher the dopamine levels increase.

It is estimated that approximately 2 billion people around the world consumed alcohol in 2002. Approximately 22 per cent of those who have drunk alcohol develops a dependency. Prolonged alcohol use can alter the chemistry in a person’s brain and lead to addiction.

Each of these top five addictive substances alters the brain’s chemistry and neuron activity, causing euphoria. These substances can be used as uppers or downers, depending on the substance and the amount taken.

Over time, these users of these substances build up a tolerance, which means that the user must use more of the substance or use it more often to get the same effects.

Substance abuse affects millions of people worldwide. Learning the top five addictive substances and how they affect the user can help you learn to spot the signs of substance abuse. If you or someone you love is experiencing substance abuse, seek medical assistance immediately.

Getting the right help

If you require addiction treatment for one of the above drugs, then your needs may be best served by a drug or alcohol rehab clinic. It may be possible for you to regain your recovery by attending outpatient therapy sessions. Others will merely require the support of their mutual support group.

If you require drug and alcohol rehab or outpatient therapy, contact us today on 0800 140 4690.


Jamie is a writer for several addiction and recovery publications. Jamie is in recovery himself.  He particularly enjoys writing about his experiences with meditation, religion and holistic therapies.