The Five Most Addictive Substances in the World

Addictive Substances
source (

Substance abuse has been increasing over the years, raising concerns as 8%-10% of people are dealing with the disorder. When abused, these substances can cause a lot of damage to your body, and perhaps even be fatal. This can cause many people to ask: why abuse the substance if it’s causing so much harm?

The answer is simple: because they are addictive. They give the brain a dopamine rush which makes the user want more and more. Some substances are even more addictive than others, which makes them even more dangerous. Here are the five most addictive substances in the world:

1. Heroin

Heroin is an opiate drug that activates your brain’s opioid receptors and has been widely recognized as the most addictive drug in the world. Aside from blocking pain, increasing relaxation, and providing an out-of-body feeling, heroin also creates a rush of dopamine that leads to euphoria. Overdoses can be deadly, which is concerning, as more than 10,000 people died between 2010 and 2014 because of them. Opiate withdrawal is also one of the most difficult to handle, especially with repeat users, which is why addiction often lasts long.

2. Alcohol

Alcohols such as liquor, wine, or beer can have a very bad effect on your body, leading to various diseases such as cirrhosis, brain damage, and even death. The problem is prevalent in underage people, as many use a fake ID to obtain it. Studies showed that alcohol can increase your brain’s dopamine levels by up to 360%, making it one of the world’s most addictive drugs. When consumed heavily or through binge drinking, it can lead to alcohol addiction.

3. Cocaine

Cocaine interferes directly with how your brain delivers the signals to release dopamine. Essentially, cocaine stops your neurons from shutting down the dopamine signal, keeping you in a constant “feel good” state. As the dopamine levels rise in your body, so will your desire to try it again. Cocaine also has the potential to trigger addiction even after only one use, which is why drug rehab is usually recommended for repeat users.

4. Nicotine

Nicotine is one of the few legally-accepted drugs, making it easily available and just as easy to get addicted to. When it comes to tobacco products (i.e., cigarettes), more than two-thirds of people who try them will become addicted at some point. Quitting is just as difficult, as it has the potential to create very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Instead of cold-turkey quitting, many simply choose to replace cigarettes with alternatives. When abused over the years, nicotine can lead to various forms of cancer, weakened immune systems, or lung damage, which can eventually lead to death.

5. Barbiturates

Also referred to as downers, blue bullets, or gorillas, barbiturates were originally used to induce sleep and to treat anxiety. They will interfere with your brain’s chemical signals, offering a feeling of euphoria and total relaxation. In low doses, barbiturates can provide a feel-good sensation. However, in high dosages, they can potentially suppress breathing, which can result in death. Due to the severity of the side effects, specialists at addiction centers strongly suggest rehab. You may find more information about this by accessing

The Bottom Line

Substance abuse can potentially interfere with the chemistry of your brain, changing neuron activity. The more you consume these substances, the higher the addiction level is likely to be. This is why it is recommended you get treatment as soon as you notice the signs, to reduce permanent damage. 

What Factors Determine the Cost of Rehabilitation?