surprisingly addictive substances
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Though almost everyone knows how dangerous substances like cocaine and heroin can be, not all addictive drugs are illegal, and many of them are also easily available. Here’s an eye-opening look at some surprisingly addictive substances.

1. Caffeine

Since caffeine is so common in products like soda, coffee and tea, many people forget that it is a stimulant with the potential for addiction. If you have ever gotten a headache after skipping your morning cup of coffee, that’s a sign of caffeine withdrawal. While you may rely on caffeine to provide a quick pick-me-up and a boost of energy, when caffeine enters the brain, it affects nerve centers that are responsible for neurological reward systems. Essentially, caffeine is addictive because consumption is a self-reinforcing behavior.

2. Prescription Medications

You may think there’s no chance of getting addicted to a beneficial drug your doctor prescribes you to manage conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, narcolepsy or depression, but that’s an unfortunate misconception. Prescription medications like Xanax, Adderall and Valium can be habit-forming even if you are careful to take them as directed and never deviate from the directions included in the package. Xanax is a depressant, while Adderall is a stimulant and Valium is an opioid. All three have addictive qualities that can cause people to misuse them in pursuit of a desirable effect.

3. Kratom

Advocates for kratom, an herbal remedy derived from a species of evergreen tree, claim the plant offers relief from a wide range of health concerns. People in Southeast Asia have used this botanical as a traditional medicine for centuries. Today, you may find it in capsule form at specialty shops. Some people chew, smoke or eat the leaves or brew them into a tea.

Kratom has gained popularity among alternative medicine practitioners. While there is a lack of authoritative information on this supplement’s safety, FDA research has shown that the botanical carries many of the same hazards as opioid drugs, including the potential for addiction, accidental overdose and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating, itching, muscle spasms and insomnia.

4. Nicotine Vapes

In recent years, companies that sell nicotine vapes have marketed them as a safer alternative to cigarettes and other tobacco products. However, using any nicotine product increases your risk of illnesses like cancer, lung disease and high blood pressure. Vape pens produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. However, many vape product labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, leading to the misconception that they aren’t addictive. The aerosol created by vape pens also includes dangerous byproducts like volatile organic compounds and carcinogens.

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