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The 10 Hardest Drugs to Kick

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by Lizel, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Lizel

    Lizel Community Champion

    1. Heroin
    Dependence Rating (Out of 3): 2.89

    No surprise here: heroin’s addictiveness is the stuff of legend. As an opiate, it affects opioid receptors throughout the body and mimics endorphins, reducing pain and causing pleasure. Areas of the brain involved in reward processing and learning are stocked with tons of these opioid receptors, so when you inject heroin, you are basically training your brain to make you crave it. Pair that with nasty withdrawal symptoms and high fat solubility (which allows it to get into your brain quickly), and you have the most addictive drug in the world. An estimated 281,000 people received treatment for heroin addiction in the US in 2003, and according to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, a full 23 percent of people who have ever used heroin become addicts.

    2. Crack Cocaine
    Dependence Rating: 2.82

    Although crack cocaine and powder cocaine have similar chemical compositions and effects, smoking processed crack causes a faster, higher rush that lasts for less time (about 10 minutes, versus 15-30 for powder cocaine). The intensity of the high combined with the efficient method of ingestion—smoking—are the big reasons why addiction rates are dramatically higher for crack than they are for snorted powder. In 2010, there were an estimated 500,000 active crack cocaine addicts in the United States.

    3. Nicotine
    Dependence Rating: 2.82

    Though nicotine doesn’t cause the rush of heroin or crack, it's biologically similar in a crucial way: it mimics a common neurotransmitter—so well that scientists named one of the acetylcholine receptors after it. Smoking regularly reduces the number and sensitivity of these “nicotinic” receptors, and requires that the user keep ingesting nicotine just to maintain normal brain function. There are a shocking 50,000,000 nicotine addicts in the US, and one in every five deaths nationwide are the result of smoking.

    4. Methadone
    Dependence Rating: 2.68

    In a clinical setting, tolerance to this drug is actually considered a good thing when treating a heroin addiction. A junky getting treated with methadone will quickly become resistant to its euphoric effects and use it to keep heroin withdrawal symptoms at bay. The problem is this: tolerance to methadone is a sign of an addiction to methadone.

    5. Crystal Meth
    Dependence Rating: 2.24

    Directly mimicking a natural neurotransmitter “teaches” your brain to want a drug—that’s how nicotine and heroin work. Crystal methamphetamine takes it to the next level: it imitates the reward chemical dopamine andthe alertness chemical norepinephrine, causing your neurons to release more of both—all the while training your brain to want them more. What’s worse, the drug can damage dopamine- and norepinephrine-releasing neurons, which leads to a drastic decrease in their production, thereby making you crave more meth. It’s an addict’s nightmare and a marketer’s dream.

    6. Alcohol
    Dependence Rating: 2.13

    Because alcohol is legal and often consumed in social settings, alcohol addiction is complicated. But as an addictive agent, it’s remarkably simple—and effective. Alcohol’s withdrawal syndrome is so severe that it can cause death, and its effects on the brain’s reward system cause well-documented and intense craving in heavy drinkers. Regardless of the mechanism, 17.9 million Americans (7% of the US population) were classified as being addicted to or abusing alcohol in 2010.

    7. Cocaine
    Dependence Rating: 2.13

    Cocaine prevents the reabsorption of dopamine in the brain’s reward areas. After you use enough blow, your brain reduces the number of dopamine receptors in this region, figuring it's already got plenty of it. You can see where this is going. Because there are now fewer receptors, stopping the drug makes you crave it—after all, the body needs its dopamine. Cocaine doesn’t destroy dopamine neurons like methamphetamine, which makes its effect less powerfully addictive, but the fast method of use (snorting), short high (less than an hour) and rapid tolerance put it in the top ten.

    8. Amphetamines
    Dependence Rating: 1.95

    Adderall users beware: Regular amphetamine (classified as pure or blended dextroamphetamine without methamphetamine, and including Adderall, Dexedrine, and Desoxyn) might not be quite as addictive as meth, but because it acts on the same reward circuit, it still causes rapid tolerance and desire for more if used regularly or in high doses. Quitting cold turkey can cause severe depression and anxiety, as well as extreme fatigue—and you can guess what extreme fatigue makes you crave...

    9. Benzodiazepines
    Dependence Rating: 1.89

    There’s a reason your doctor will tell you to taper off these prescription anti-anxiety drugs (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, et al) after taking them for awhile. Each one increases the effectiveness of a brain chemical called GABA, which reduces the excitability of many other neurons and decreases anxiety. Because benzodiazepines cause rapid tolerance, quitting cold turkey causes a multi-symptom withdrawal that includes irritability, anxiety and panic attacks—enough to make just about anybody fall right back into benzo's comforting arms.

    10. GHB
    Dependence Rating: 1.71

    Last on the list is a depressant and club drug that may itself be a neurotransmitter. It has cross-tolerance with alcohol—if you drink regularly, you'll need to ingest more GHB to get high—as well as a short half life in the body and a brutal withdrawal syndrome that causes insomnia, anxiety, dizziness and vomiting. The combination is nasty: Take a lot of GHB to make up for your tolerance to alcohol and you could be hooked.

    For more information, go to this link (c)
    deanokat likes this.
  2. JonnyMacdonald

    JonnyMacdonald Community Champion

    Very nice list, all facts and scientific. A little dry had to take a break after 6.
    What's with the daniel cuthbert link?
  3. oraclemay

    oraclemay Community Champion

    Reading this makes me understand how sad it actually is to be addicted. It shows clearly how out of control you are as an addict. It scares me to death just reading through this list.
    Lizel likes this.
  4. Lizel

    Lizel Community Champion

    It's sad that some people who are addicted don't get support to overcome their addiction.
  5. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    I totally believe it, and yet it still shocks me that kicking nicotine is almost just as hard as kicking a heroin addiction. Cigarettes are legal and maybe that is why it baffles me so much. Great list and thanks for sharing. It really puts addiction into perspective.
  6. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I think the list pretty much speaks for itself and I for one agree with the order they're in.

    On this forum there are people that can relate to every one of them substances and will be able to have their own personal stories attached to them. Comparing one addiction with another is hard to do as everyone will be affected in a different way.
  7. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Awesome list, I had the feeling nicotine was one of the drugs that was hard to beat, it's easy to tell because there are so many people out there who are so addicted to it! I have noticed most smokers have the hardest time trying to quit, my fiance is one of them. He is smoking 5 cigarettes daily, I'd worry more about this, but right now I am a bit more worried about my health.
  8. CallipygianGamine

    CallipygianGamine Community Champion

    Very interesting list. I hear a lot that nicotine is as difficult to kick as some of the harder drugs, and well, I think the fact it’s so high up on the list speaks for itself. Gives me a new respect for anyone who’s able to quit successfully. That holds true for any of them, really, but given that it’s one of the legal drugs on this list, that factors in as well. Thank you for sharing.
  9. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    Since I'm not an addict, I can't relate to the "high" that most drugs give, but it's interesting to read and learn about how drugs work their "magic" into our brains. I'm proud to say that nicotine doesn't have any hold on me, lol even if I smoke, when the stick or pack runs out, I won't be compelled to buy more.
  10. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    However they come up with those slight ratings. Some people are more inclined than others. I'm wondering if there is a difference in a person's brain patterns. Its like when they compare a psychopath to a normal brain there is a complete difference in brain activity and specifically in which areas of the brain with this type. I'm thinking the addictive obsessive type is perhaps the same way. A totally different pattern of brain activity. Some people could try all of these and walk away never to touch it again. What makes the other person different? Rationality, IQ or is it the way their brain functions; being more inclined to obsess over something.
    I mean to sit there and take something that literally fries your brain or can severely damage you just for the sake of an altered state. It is kind of a completely irrational way of thinking. I guess it could have to do with where you are on the mental scale; you know like your level of happiness almost. 0-4 lets say 0-1 being apathy & anger and so forth...the higher you go up it is an optimum state. I mean you've got to be pretty depressed to be financially successful and think that drugs are going to do it. If someone is truly happy it just doesn't make any sense. The happiest people I've known in my life, were drug free. This includes prescription drugs.
  11. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    Thank you for sharing this list to us here. Very informative and relevant.

    I totally agree with the most of them and their order, but I feel like alcohol should be on top five. Just an opinion though.
  12. doatk22

    doatk22 Community Champion

    Yeah these aren't surprising because it's the withdrawal that is the worst for people. They fee like they won't be able to get over that so they have to go back to their addiction. I'm sure many have tried to quit and the withdrawals stopped them.
  13. Mara

    Mara Community Champion

    I think some drugs are much harder to kick out of our lives because of our dependence on them. And we must also take into consideration the person's willfulness to stop. And I totally agree that withdrawal symptoms make it a lot harder to break substance addiction. I remember when my friends and I were trying to quit smoking, one of us wasn’t able to withstand the phlegm and the cough so she started smoking again and the cough stopped. She thought at that that time that the cigarette was the “cure” to her cough. Up to this day, she still smokes. I was able to break the habit though. I’m glad I was able to endure all the withdrawal symptoms that I experienced.
  14. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    I had heard quite regularly that nicotine was as hard to kick as some other "harder" drugs so I'm not surprised at its' place so high on the list. The hard part about cigarettes is that they're so easily accessible - if your drug of choice is available at your local supermarket then it certainly adds a level of challenge to giving it up.
  15. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Quite surprising. I'm surprised nicotine rates the same as crack cocaine, although the UK government claim it's more addictive than heroin (which isn't quite true, according to this list). I'm also surprised that crystal meth is so far down at number five, I would have thought it would have been in the top three. I'm also surprised that alcohol is higher up than cocaine and amphetamines. I've been addicted to (meth)amphetamines and crack cocaine in the past and yet I've never found alcohol even slightly addictive and have never had any kind of problem with it.
  16. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    Quite an interesting bit of information. I honestly just skimmed through the list but will revisit it once I am a little more alert. Many here are to be commended for freeing themselves from these addictions. That had to be said.
  17. Carnold23

    Carnold23 Community Champion

    I think that ciggarettes are on of the hardest addictions to beat. It is somewhat socially accepted and it is a very powerful addiction. While I do not use drugs anymore I have been smoking for years and I am struggling with quitting.
  18. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    This is some really bad stuff. That's why I hope they find more effective ways with research to help people break these addictions. One of the strongest drugs is actually porn. Even tho porn isn't like most other drugs facts have shown they do the same things to the brain and is very hard to break. I know that cocaine is probably very addictive, I had a family member who I lived with on it and he would steal anything that wasn't tied down to the floor.
  19. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    They forgot pizza. ;)
  20. layton

    layton Member

    This list if very informative. Thank you for the time you took to research these things. I think that this list will help a lot of individuals understand what each drug does and how it can affect a person. I hope that someone will read this and get help with their problem. I know how drug abuse can affect families due to my father being addicted to alcohol.