If you’ve experimented with drugs in your social circle or at a party, you most likely asked the question, “What are gateway drugs?” In short, gateway drugs lead to other illicit substances. However, some people think common gateway drugs are not physically addictive but could be habit forming. However, many studies suggest that using milder drugs opens the door to abusing more powerful substances.
What Are Gateway Drugs?
Many people consider nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol gateway drugs. Unfortunately, opioids and prescription drugs are becoming more popular as well. These substances increase the brain’s dopamine levels. Overall, dopamine makes you feel good and activates your central nervous system’s reward centers.
A National Institute on Drug Abuse survey found that adults who use marijuana are more likely to develop an alcohol disorder than those who didn’t. Marijuana users under the age of 18 are 85 times more likely to try cocaine than children who don’t use marijuana. Not to mention, adults who drank as kids are more prone to cocaine use than adults who didn’t try alcohol during childhood.
What Are Gateway Drugs Doing To Your Brain?
Additionally, we associate some gateway drugs with physical dependency. For example, nicotine absorbs rapidly into your bloodstream. The stimulating buzz that you receive wears off quickly, leaving you wanting more. The more frequently you use nicotine, the more you want it.
You can also become physically dependent on alcohol. Your body acclimates to the way it functions when you’re under the influence. You also build up a tolerance, which means that you need more of the chemical to feel the same effects as you once did. Eventually, you may believe you need the substance to feel normal.
Find Your Perfect Addiction Treatment Program
You may wonder, “What are gateway drugs treatment options?” You might also ask yourself if you need drug and alcohol addiction treatment to a gateway drug. Even if you feel like the substances you use aren’t powerful enough to create an addiction or control your life, you may need treatment. The signs that you have a problem include:
- Intense cravings for your drug of choice
- Withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use the substance
- Thinking about the substance all the time
- Taking inappropriate actions to obtain or use the drug
At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we offer a wide range of addiction treatment programs for treating soft and hard drugs, including:
- Marijuana addiction
- Prescription drugs
Our rehab blog and accredited facility provide the necessary education for understanding how addiction develops and what you can do to retake control of your life. Discover the answers to, “What are gateway drugs?” and ways to manage your substance abuse disorder before it gets out of hand. Call us today at 866-377-4761.