You already know that drug addiction can ruin lives and cause death. But do you know that some substances do more damage to your body and mind while some are harder to kick than others – or both?
Not surprisingly, heroin is at the top of the Worst Addictions list. In studies conducted by Dr. David Nutt, the British psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist specializing in the research of drugs that affect the brain, heroin was found to be one of the most addictive drugs there is as well as being one of the most destructive.
Why Heroin is the #1 Worst Drug Addiction
When heroin is injected, snorted or smoked, it is delivered into the bloodstream and causes an instant rush of euphoria, followed by a feeling of drowsiness. Long-term use of heroin causes liver and kidney disease, infection and lung complications. Heroin overdose is a common risk because users often do not know what their substance has been mixed with as the purity of street heroin is often unknown.
A person can become addicted to heroin in as little as three days. As an opiate, it affects opioid receptors throughout the body and mimics endorphins, reducing pain and causing pleasure. It can make people feel euphoric and content. Because many people inject heroin, there is a high risk of infection, AIDS, and lethal injections. Continuous usage can lead to collapsed veins, heart disease and decreased liver function.
Withdrawal from heroin addiction, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last use, usually includes shivering, diarrhea, restlessness and intense cravings. Regardless of dosage, convulsions, increased heart rate, abnormal heartbeat, heart attack, a sudden increase in blood pressure, stroke, extreme depression and suicidal behavior may also appear during heroin withdrawal. Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal. Attempts to stop using heroin can fail simply because the withdrawal can be so overwhelming that it may cause the addict to use more heroin in an attempt to overcome the symptoms.
The Discovery House’s heroin addiction treatment program is staffed with a team of addiction professionals, therapists, and counselors that understand the process of recovery and bring a vast spectrum of knowledge to the treatment process. Our 3 to 1 client to counselor ratio allows our Certified Substance Abuse Counselors to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment experience.
#2 Most Dangerous Drug Addiction: Crack Cocaine
Crack cocaine, ranked by Dr. Nutt as the second most dangerous drug, is a cheaper form of the purer cocaine drug and is far more dangerous as a result. It is usually smoked in a pipe or occasionally injected intravenously. Although crack cocaine and powder cocaine have similar chemical compositions and effects, smoking processed crack causes a faster, intensely pleasurable rush that lasts for less time.
Crack cocaine is so addictive due to the incredible low experience followed by a short period of euphoria, during which users can feel depressed, tired and easily irritated or angered. Crack addicts therefore continually seek new ways to feed their addiction to avoid the unpleasant low which results from crack usage. As the addiction takes hold it can completely take over the individual’s life, destroying everything that is good in the person’s life.
It is difficult to treat a person addicted to crack unless they are fully committed to escaping their substance abuse. Once people have decided that they have had enough, they may be able to recover with the help of an inpatient treatment program.
The Discovery House provides drug rehab in San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles to those looking for help for a drug or alcohol addiction. We provide a resident-based approach to recovery, and our experienced staff uses a combination of proven techniques to help residents achieve sobriety. We use modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Psycho-drama, Music Therapy and other therapies and programs such as the 12 step program, a nutrition program, and a family program to help meet the individual needs, choices and concerns of our residents.
#3 Most Dangerous Drug Addiction: Nicotine
In ratings by cocaine and alcohol addicts, smoking is regularly cited as the more difficult drug to quit, generally on par with or more difficult than heroin. Smoking regularly reduces the number and sensitivity of the brain’s “nicotinic” receptors and requires that the user keeps ingesting nicotine just to maintain normal brain function.
Although studies vary, it is generally believed that well over 30% of those individuals who use nicotine for a period of time become addicted. That is a high number considering the availability of the product, the manner in which it is marketed towards young people and the deadly consequences of a lifetime of use. Smokers have much higher rates of heart disease, stroke, and cancer than nonsmokers do. There are a shocking 50,000,000 nicotine addicts in the US, and one in every five deaths nationwide are the result of smoking.
According to the Mayo Clinic, nicotine produces physical and mood-altering effects in your brain that are temporarily pleasing. These effects make you want to use tobacco and lead to dependence. At the same time, stopping tobacco use causes withdrawal symptoms, including irritability and anxiety.
The Discovery House utilizes a variety of treatment programs that allow each client to receive the individualized care they deserve. Our Southern California rehab center offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs to help people addicted to drugs and alcohol achieve and maintain long-term recovery. Each client at The Discovery House receives customized care to end their dependence on drugs such as heroin and other opiates and/or alcohol and to live a sober life.