9 Most Addictive Substances Known to Man

4 minute read

By Christopher Brown

Whether it’s the back alley, the club district or the boardroom, addictive substances are everywhere. It’s essential to be aware of the persuasive potency of these drugs. Start a search today to explore the most addictive substances known to man.

At one point or another, you’re bound to come across at least one or two of the items on this list. So, pay attention, educate yourself, and consider yourself warned. These substances may seem exciting at first, but they can quickly turn on you!

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is easily the world’s substance of choice. It’s widely available, it’s affordable and it’s legal. It’s also been around for centuries.

Made from fermented grain, juice and even honey, alcohol interferes with the communication pathways in the brain. The popular party beverage often lowers inhibitions and can relax your muscles in small doses. The danger, though, is with prolonged abuse.

You can develop a physical dependence on alcohol, causing withdrawal symptoms like mood swings and violent shaking. Add to that, going “cold turkey” is very dangerous for those in the advanced stages of alcohol addiction. In those extreme cases, medical assistance is highly recommended.

2. Heroin

Heroin is an opiate, extracted from the Opium plant, and was initially developed as a painkiller. Today though, it’s widely recognized as the most addictive substance in the world. It’s 2 to 4 times as strong as morphine and individual tolerance builds incredibly fast. Translation: the more you do, the more you need.

Heroin can be smoked, snorted and injected, and the withdrawal symptoms are terrifying. Depression, sweating, achy bones, cramps… and the list goes on. Recreational heroin use is on the rise as of late, making it even scarier.

3. Nicotine

No advertising. Warning labels. Restricted public use. A high tax rate. All of these restrictions have been introduced to curb cigarette smoking throughout the world and yet, smokers still find a way. It speaks volumes to the addictive qualities of nicotine.

The effects of long-term cigarette smoke are also impossible to deny. Lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, strokes… it’s safe to say that if you’ve never puffed a cigarette before, don’t start now.

4. Caffeine

We live in a fast paced world and for many, caffeine moves them forward. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes a “mild physical dependence.”

It seems a little silly to include coffee and other caffeinated beverages in a list alongside devastating substances like heroin and alcohol, but caffeine is a drug, and it is addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, headaches, and generally waking up in the morning looking and feeling like Grumpy Cat.

5. Cocaine

Cocaine is an incredibly potent party drug that’s commonly associated with feelings of euphoria, false confidence and addiction. Cocaine hijacks the reward pathways in your brain, flooding your blood with serotonin. That’s what makes it so addictive.

Cocaine does a lot of damage to your heart, can cause drastic mood swings and severely damage your personal relationships. It’s also very, very expensive. Severe addiction to cocaine often leads to crippling paranoia and financial ruin.

6. Crystal Meth

It’s cheap, it’s relatively easy to make, and it’s everywhere. Crystal meth is a stimulant that can last up to 24 hours in some cases. It can be snorted, smoked, injected and taken orally, and it’s considered a party drug. It provides the user with sudden bursts of energy and euphoria.

Crystal meth use takes a huge toll on your heart, can cause severe brain damage and manifests itself physically with tooth loss, skin abrasions and weight loss. And as if that’s not scary enough, many users claim to have been addicted after their first use! Crystal meth is an absolute nightmare drug, and should be avoided at absolutely any cost. If you or anyone you know is using crystal meth recreationally, get them help now.

7. Sugar

Yes, you read that right. Sugar, though not a psychoactive drug, is still a substance that you should be very wary about. Recent surveys have found that sugar addiction hijacks the pleasure centers in your brain a lot like cocaine and heroin. What’s more… it’s IN EVERYTHING!

Weight gain, cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes… it’s a substance that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You read Healthversed, so you’re already aware of the importance of diet and the dangers of sugar. And sure, crystal meth, cocaine and heroin are a lot worse. But still, just because it’s legal, and everywhere, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Plus, you don’t need sugar anyways. You’re sweet enough.

8. Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is different than regular cocaine. Think of it like a highly potent, synthesized, and more addictive version of regular cocaine. It took over large swaths of the US in the early ‘80s. Crack has no practical medicinal use and is most commonly smoked, but also be injected. Much like crystal meth, the effects include euphoria, increased energy and extreme alertness.

9. Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, or “Benzos,” have a lot of practical uses and a lot of different names. They affect the central nervous system and act as the active ingredient in certain muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications and pre-anesthetics. Think Xanax, Ativan, Halcion and Valium.

Benzodiazepines are very, very common and as such, widely abused. Xanax, prescribed to treat anxiety, has been used recreationally for many years.

Benzo dependence looks different depending on its use. Many can’t sleep without it. Some experience physical withdrawal symptoms like panic attacks, headaches and stomach discomfort.


The lesson? Addictive substances can be obvious, like cocaine and crystal meth, or insidious, like caffeine and sugar. Be very, very careful. Whether it’s a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine after work, be conscious of what you put in your body and you’ll be fine!

Christopher Brown