Three Common Addictive Substances and How they Affect our Brain

Fighting an addiction is a very long and hard process for both the user and the people close to him/her. It requires tremendous amounts of willpower and guidance from medical experts for someone to be able to escape it.

There are a huge number of studies and researches available for anyone to read about the ways addictive substances operate and damage our body. Instead of focusing on this issue, in this article we are going to list the 3 most common ones along with some basic information about every one of them.heroin addiction


Barbiturates are also known as “downers” because they are mostly used by drug addicts in order to reduce the feeling of hyperactivity caused by certain chemical substances. They have various street names too, some of which are “gorillas”, “barbs” and “blue bullets”.

They have been documented to intercept chemical signals within the human brain thus shutting down some parts of it. A small dosage offers the feeling of euphoria, but higher dosages can even be lethal since they can hinder the breathing function severely.


The effects of alcoholism are, more or less, known to every single one of us. It is a huge problem that degrades many parts of the user’s life. It is considered as the most damaging non-drug addictive substance by many medical experts. Lab experiments on animals showed that it can increase dopamine levels by 40 up to 360 percent - the more alcohol is consumed, the higher the increase is.

The numbers provided by the World Health Organization are virtually terrifying. In 2012 alone, 3 million people died because of health issues caused by increased and regular alcohol consumption while more than 1 out of every 5 people who have tasted alcohol is expected to become addicted to it.


A study conducted by David Nutt and his research team on classified drugs after extensive discussions with experts on addiction issues concluded that heroin is the most dangerous and addictive drug that can be found today.

Understanding why it is considered so dangerous does not require advanced, or even basic, medical knowledge. It only takes about 5 times the quantity someone uses to get “high” for heroine to kill a person. The difference may seem huge but it is not, especially once we take into consideration that we are dealing with dosages that come in grams and can fit on the bottom of a tea spoon.

Heroin also increases dopamine by up to 200%. However, it is considered far more intense than alcohol since it is injected directly in the blood stream.

There are, definitely, way more substances that can be added to this list, and the most worrying detail of all is that, every now and then, a new one emerges that is equally threatening as the rest. The best way to fight this extremely serious problem is through education and making men and women of all ages understand that recreational drugs don’t solve anything, but instead, they create even more problems that could cost the user their life.