5 Most Common addictive drugs
Cocaine is an illegally made white powder or rock that comes from the coca plant, a naturally present stimulant in South America (“crack”). Although cocaine powder may also be inhaled or injected, crack is frequently smoked. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in motivation and reward, is stimulated during cocaine use, which results in a potent high. The effects appear immediately, are audible, and only persist for a short time.
Heroin is an illegal drug that, by activating the opioid receptors in the brain, causes an “out-of-body” experience, lessens pain, and promotes relaxation. Additionally, it results in a rise in dopamine levels in the brain, which produces a gratifying sense of pleasure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, new limits on prescription opioids, including oxycodone (OxyContin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Percocet), have led to an upsurge in heroin use and addiction (CDC).
After getting addicted to heroin, people who try to quit using it frequently experience flu-like symptoms, melancholy, insomnia, and anxiety, which may cause them to desire to start using heroin again.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol is the most widely used addictive substance in America, with 1 in every 12 people having a problem with alcohol misuse or dependency. Although alcohol is widely accessible, inexpensive, and socially acceptable for those of the legal drinking age (21 and higher), millions of people use it responsibly. However, it has a high potential for abuse.
Like other drugs, alcohol increases dopamine levels. It elevates mood but also acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, slowing down other CNS functions and reducing the rate at which neurons fire. Reduced heart and blood rate are the results. Additionally, it causes sleepiness and impairs cognitive and motor skills. Because intoxication decreases inhibitions, people are more likely to participate in risky behaviours. They could be friendlier and more outgoing, but they might also be more prone to mood changes, impaired judgement, and impulsive behaviour.
According to a report published in Psychology Today, one of the main active substances in tobacco smoke, nicotine, is incredibly addictive, which may help to explain why some individuals who start smoking are unable to stop.
Smoking may be addicting due to its beneficial benefits on mood and cognition. Nicotine enters the body through the skin, lungs, or mucosal lining of the mouth and nose, stimulating the brain’s reward centre. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that nicotine’s euphoric effects can be noticed as soon as 10 seconds after inhalation and wear off after a few hours, leaving smokers insatiably seeking more of the drug.
Meth users may quickly develop tolerance, requiring greater dosages of the drug to provide the same high. With repeated usage and escalating dosages of medications, tolerance and addiction can form. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that long-term meth use can significantly lower dopamine levels and change how dopamine receptors function in the brain, harming brain regions critical to learning, memory, and emotional regulation. Dopamine levels plummet to dangerously low levels as meth is eliminated from the body, making it impossible for the neurotransmitter to bind to its receptors properly. Desperate drug cravings, depression, and even suicidal thoughts may result from this. Compulsive drug-seeking behaviours and regular meth use are characteristics of addiction, and these symptoms may promote these behaviours.
Remember that effective treatments are available to you if you or someone you know has been exposed to any hazardous substances on this list. Get in touch with a therapist to find out more about your options.