All drugs, including over-the-counter medications, have the potential for abuse. Yet, some drugs can be more addictive than other drugs. There are several similarities among drugs that cause severe dependency and addiction. They affect how your brain functions and lead to withdrawal symptoms.
Substance abuse, legal costs, and treatment lead to $600 billion annually in America. The withdrawal symptoms from addictive drugs can be so severe that you require professional addiction treatment. Keep reading to learn more about the ten most addictive drugs and various dangers associated with them.
Table of Contents:
- What Are The Categories That Determine the Addiction Levels of Drugs?
- What is the Most Addictive Drug?
- Street Methadone
What Are The Categories That Determine the Addiction Levels of Drugs?
Three parameters are commonly used to assess the addiction levels of various substances. The primary parameter is dependence, followed by physical harm and social harm.
Dependence is further split into three factors:
- The intensity of pleasure.
- Psychological dependence and
- Physical dependence.
Drugs that offer users a heightened sense of pleasure have higher chances of abuse. The addiction is triggered by the initial effects of the drug and the euphoria that it offers. Psychological dependence is characterized by the frequency of use, fear of stopping, and negative consequences. Physical dependence includes tolerance to the drug, cravings, and withdrawal.
What is the Most Addictive Drug?
Although addiction to a drug depends on individual preferences, there are several properties of a substance that increases the chance of its abuse. 6-MAM is considered to be the most addictive substance. 6-MAM taps into the opioid receptors in the brain and causes effects that are different from other drugs.
6-MAM gives a sense of relaxation, coziness, and peace, as the opioid has soothing properties. It can briefly cull the user’s emotional and physical stress, promoting dependency on the substance. Heroin is also cheaper than other addictive substances like Cocaine or Meth, making it an easily accessible option.
6-MAM has devastating withdrawal symptoms, making most users reluctant to stop its usage. Keep reading to find out why heroin is more addictive than other substances.
Out of all the substances discussed here, Cannabis is the least addictive one, with a score of 1.51. Yet, thirty percent of cannabis users display signs of dependency. Commonly known as MMJ or weed, medical cannabis is used as a pain relief for people with chronic pain or multiple sclerosis.
MMJ has withdrawal symptoms such as:
- A general physical discomfort.
- Decreased appetite.
- Mood swings.
- Irregular sleep patterns.
- Cravings for the substance.
Users who start MMJ before 18 are seven times more likely to develop a substance use disorder.
Buprenorphine is a medically prescribed drug used to counter withdrawal symptoms of other opioids. Buprenorphine can eliminate the effects of other opioids on your body and suppress withdrawal symptoms through regulated dosage. Yet, Buprenorphine can be abused if it is used without supervision or prescription.
Buprenorphine offers euphoric and sedative effects for its users, significantly higher for users who are not exposed to other opioids. Due to its similarities to opioids, Buprenorphene has a score of 1.64.
Amphetamine, in its medical dosage, is a stimulant for narcolepsy and ADHD treatment. Illegally produced Amphetamines, such as Methamphetamine, triggers dependency faster than any other drug. Meth is considered the most problematic drug to quit in terms of physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Known commonly as crystal meth, users consume the substance through various means such as injections, snorting, or smoking. Meth leads to a surge of dopamine in our brains, which motivates us to seek more of it. Meth is, therefore, a dangerous drug with a score of 1.61.
Benzodiazepines are a common medication in the US that is prescribed for seizures, anxiety, muscle stress, and insomnia. Xanax, Restoril and Valium are examples of Benzodiazepines or Benzos. Because of their properties to reduce stress and promote a sense of calmness, benzos are commonly abused.
Users begin to experience anxiety and insomnia within four days of discontinuing the drug. Benzos also cause a second wave of withdrawal, such as nausea, dry retching, panic attacks, and sleep disturbance. Recovery from benzos addiction is difficult without a medically supervised detox, which gives it a dependency score of 1.83.
Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that is highly addictive. More than eighty percent of adults in the US consume alcohol. There are over fourteen million adults who report a drinking issue. Alcohol comes sixth on the list of ten most addictive substances, with a score of 1.93.
Although people consume alcohol to celebrate or relax occasionally, regular use can cause several health issues. Alcohol causes the following health issues
- High blood pressure.
- Alcohol Poisoning.
- Memory problems.
Withdrawal from severe alcohol abuse can lead to hallucinations, tremors, and seizures.
Barbiturates are depressants that have a dependence score of 2.01. People consume forms of barbiturates such as
- Secobarbital and
Barbiturates induce feelings such as a lack of inhibitions, mild euphoria, relief from anxiety, etc. Barbiturates can be consumed in pill forms, while some people inject them to get a faster effect.
Withdrawal symptoms of barbiturates can cause seizures, insomnia, dizziness, anxiety, and psychosis. Withdrawal symptoms may develop as soon as one discontinues the drug. Severe Barbiturate dependency can cause circulatory failure, hypothermia, and death.
Street Methadone is an informal terminology for Methadone, a drug used to treat 6-MAM withdrawal. Other names for Methadone include wafer, chocolate chip cookie, Maria, fizzes, or pastora. Although Methadone is low on its pleasure dependence, it creates high physical and psychological dependence.
Street Methadone has a dependence score of 2.08. Users consume Methadone through an injectable solution, oral solution, or tablets. Methadone can cause withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Muscle tremors.
- Abdominal cramps and
The highly addictive nature makes tobacco the most widely used intoxicant globally. Tobacco is legal and unregulated narcotic, with a dependence score of 2.21, making it the third most addictive substance in the world!
The Nicotine present in tobacco creates an intense craving for the substance. Withdrawal from tobacco can cause sleeping troubles, reduced attention span, and irritability. As tobacco is inhaled chiefly as smoke, it causes adverse respiratory health issues.
Cocaine is the second most addictive substance on the planet, with a dependence score of 2.31. Cocaine increases dopamine levels in the brain, enhancing pleasure and euphoric feelings. Cocaine is highly expensive as it comes from the leaves of the coca plant.
Dealers often spike Cocaine with contaminants such as flour, talcum powder, and cornstarch to increase their profits. Some dealers also use drugs such as Fentanyl to increase the high, which heightens the risk of an overdose. Frequent use of Cocaine makes your brain less sensitive to dopamine, which means that one has to increase their intake to get the same high.
Cocaine causes withdrawal symptoms such as nightmares, insomnia, depression, slower thinking power, and fatigue. Users who snort cocaine experience side effects such as nosebleeds, loss of smell, and problems with swallowing. Users who ingest the drug might even get severe bowel decay.
Among all the drugs considered here, 6-MAM has the highest dependence, with a score of 3.0. 6-MAM is more common among addicts as it is considerably cheaper than Cocaine and Amphetamines, with multiple consumption options. 6-MAM can be injected, snorted, or smoked, and it does not take much time for the body to develop a tolerance.
6-MAM users consistently increase their intake to get the same euphoric effect they received during their initial use. Sometimes, the withdrawal symptoms motivate people to continue using the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms of heroin can be severe, such as:
- Bone and muscle spasms.
- Cold flashes.
- Uncontrolled Twitching
- Vomiting and
6-MAM is an opioid, and the long-term effects of opioid addiction can lead to a loss of white matter in our brains, hampering our decision-making abilities.
All addictive substances can lead to a dependency which causes users to have withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue the substance. The addictive quality is determined by how it makes people feel when under its influence and how bad they feel when the influence wears off.
Chronic use of drugs can cause cravings and restlessness when people do not get their drugs.
Based on its dependency factor and availability, 6-MAM is considered the most addictive drug. Once you recognize dependence symptoms in yourself or others, it is best to get support as early as possible. Treatment can help regain one’s control over addiction and achieve long-term sobriety.