A panel of experts have listed off the top five most addictive substances in the world. And several of these substances are legal. What are they and how can they affect your life?
This list was created by chemists, psychiatrists and pharmacologists. Of the top five addictive drugs they ranked, the first on their list is heroin. Animal research has shown this opiate can increase dopamine levels in the brain by up to 200%. Heroin use has risen sharply here in the US, and unfortunately, so has heroin-related overdose deaths.
Next on the list is cocaine. This drug also affects dopamine levels by preventing the brain from turning off the signal. And animal research found cocaine can raise levels to more than 3 times the normal rate.
Third on this list is nicotine. It’s found naturally in tobacco and here in the US, more people are addicted to nicotine than any other drug. Which is unfortunate as tobacco smoke has over 7,000 chemicals, and roughly 70 of them can cause cancer.
Number four on the list are barbiturates, otherwise known as “downers". This class of drugs can cause euphoria and high doses can suppress breathing which can be deadly.
And the last drug may surprise you. And that’s alcohol. Animal research has shown alcohol can raise dopamine levels in the brain anywhere between 40% and 360%. And the more that was drank, the higher the dopamine level.
Dopamine is certainly the brain’s pleasure chemical but drug addiction is very complex. So I have some prescriptions to share:
Get help for mental health concerns like depression, anxiety or PTSD. Because drug abuse often goes hand in hand with these disorders as many use drugs as a way to cope. Learn how to handle the pressures of life. Please don’t use drugs as a way to unwind or ease stress. It’s best to avoid all illicit drugs. And be careful not to misuse or abuse prescription drugs. And lastly, if you have teenagers, talk to them openly and honestly about drugs. Communication is essential when it comes to prevention.