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How can you tell if a drug is addictive?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2017 | Blog |

Addiction is a generic term that medical professionals define as being dependent on something or habituated toward. Sometimes people use the word loosely to mean something good rather than in the negative sense as it’s generally accepted. For instance, someone might say they’re addicted to Washington sunrises and other beautiful scenes. This of course evokes a far different sensation than saying someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Either way, if you believe you get pleasure from or need something so badly you may act in certain ways you would otherwise not act just to have it, there might be a problem. This often happens to people who use some of the most highly addictive substances on earth. Sometimes, thefts, assaults or other crimes occur that are somehow connected to a person or group of people’s addictions.

Recognizing potential danger in drugs

You can’t avoid danger if you don’t know how to recognize it. With regard to drugs, if you want to steer clear of situations that may lead to serious addictions, it may help to learn as much as you can about different types of controlled substances so you know which are the most dangerous. Following are key factors researchers consider when determining which drugs are most addictive:

  • Withdrawal: To determine how addictive a particular substance is, researchers often observe what happens to those who take the substance for a time, then stop. If the substance users suffer serious withdrawal symptoms, researchers take it as a sign that the substance is probably addictive.
  • Feelings during use: The most addictive substances often create feelings of euphoria and pleasure for those who use them. Therefore, if people repeatedly report such feelings when taking a particular drug, researchers flag the drug as possibly addictive.
  • Brain activity: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that acts as a chemical messenger inside the brain. The most highly addictive drugs affect receptors, making it difficult to send, receive or process information.

These are not the only means for detecting which substances may be addictive but are the basic ways researchers separate the less harmful drugs from those that can lead to serious problems. If you or someone you love struggles with drug addiction, you are not alone and may want to reach out for support to help you address your needs.

So, which drugs are most addictive?

Some of the following may surprise you as you consider this list in the context of beings the most highly addictive substances that exist. In fact, a couple things on the list may not even seem like drugs at all. Here are the top five addictive drugs:

  • Alcohol: Many people don’t consider alcohol a drug that can permanently affect the brain and body. Many deaths every year are alcohol-related.
  • Nicotine: Researchers believe this to be one of the most addictive substances in the nation. Common in cigarettes and chewing tobacco, many people use products containing nicotine report addictions.
  • Barbiturates: These drugs are often among those that people describe as euphoric when they use them. However, downers are also known to suppress breathing, which often leads to overdose. 
  • Heroin: This opiate’s rate of addiction is 2.5 out of a possible 3. Heroin addiction, which often leads to death, devastates many people’s lives.

There’s no shame in asking for help if you are addicted to drugs. Doing so might prevent your own death as well as keep you out of trouble with the law. All sorts of situations related to addictive drugs can result in legal problems, especially if you find yourself facing charges for manufacturing, selling or using illegal drugs of any kind. If this is your current situation, you may want to do like many others have done by asking for criminal defense assistance when you go to court.