What Are Gateway Drugs?
For a student to fail a class, they have to choose not to study, get help, or ask questions. If the student continues said habits, they may fall short and not pass their courses or get into college. Sometimes, the smallest habits or decisions we make can transform into nasty habits and dangerous behaviors. Of course, everything we decide to say or do in life has consequences and can lead to an unhealthy obsession. One of the most harmful habits anyone can fall into is addiction. Addiction is difficult to overcome, let alone doing it by yourself. If you need help then you should reach out to our experts today.
If you or someone you know is using or considering using drugs, please call 614-510-6247. Do not hesitate to contact and reach out for help. We can help treat your drug and alcohol addiction successfully. Call today, and we can help you get on the road to recovery.
Gateway Drugs 101
Let’s first establish what a gateway drug is? The term gateway drug is to characterize a specific category of drugs and substances. These substances cause users to develop unhealthy addictions and cravings for other substances that are far more harmful and damaging to individuals using them. Merely, gateway drugs are mild and easy to come by. Additionally, they are less “hard” than other drugs. Examples of “harder” drugs include cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and meth.
Gateway drugs get their classification name from the theory that they are the gateway drug theory. The idea is that continuously using mild and easily accessible drugs will increase the risks of developing a drive to pursue more dangerous drugs. This risk increases if drug use starts at a young age. Some of the most common gateway drug examples include alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana.
Experts report that alcohol is the most common gateway drug that leads both adolescents and adults into further drug use. Frequently, many who consume alcohol typically do it while socializing and interacting with others who are already drinking. Before long, drinking may become a routine of an individual’s day or week. This can lead to addiction, and the user may end up wanting more alcohol or other substances.
How People Use it
The primary form of using and consuming alcohol is drinking it. It could be wine, beer, hard cider, rum, gin, whiskey, tequila, vodka, or brandy.
Effects of Using
Alcohol is a depressant. People will use and consume it when someone wishes to feel relief from stress, worry, anxiety, loneliness, or friendly. Whether they want to feel this with others or themselves.
Whenever someone consumes alcohol, especially an excessive amount, it disrupts the brain’s pathways of communicating. Thus, the individual is not able to function correctly before drinking their beverage. Some alcohol intake symptoms include having trouble walking, speech slurring, memory impairment, short reaction times, mood swings, lack of self-control, and poor cognition.
Due to society and the way things are today, it is understandable why some people would want to experience relief from their constant worry or stressful lives. Furthermore, the stress can come from their work, family, finances, friends, or just general concern. Incorporating alcohol into a person’s day-to-day routine is a setup for addiction to develop and occur. However, just because alcohol is an option does not mean that it is the only form to alleviate stress.
In terms of treatment options for alcohol addiction, there are plenty to choose from: psychological interventions, motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mutual help groups, addiction counseling, and medications. If you would like more information about alcohol addiction treatment then please reach out to our experts today. We will be able to help you figure out the best course of treatment for you and your needs.
Studies show that marijuana is the second most widely used gateway drug. Also, it leads its users to further their drug use after alcohol. More than 11.8 million young adults use marijuana. Also, Monitoring the Future states that the evidence that rates of marijuana use among middle and high school students during the year of 2018 were steady. However, the number of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 16, who claim they use marijuana daily increased.
How People Use it
There are various ways to consume and use the substance: ingestion, tinctures, sprays, vaping and dabbing. The most widespread form of partaking in using marijuana is smoking, whether through a rolled joint, bong, blunt, or hookah.
Effects of Using
When somebody uses marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a key chemical compound found in marijuana, stimulates the brain’s cells to release an excessive amount of dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel-good” hormone. Thus, causing the said user to experience euphoria and ecstasy, which is better known as a high.
Due to the excessive release of dopamine, some of the brain’s imperative functions become overwhelmed, and their roles begin to diminish. Such symptoms include having impaired memory, an altered sense of time, mood swings, distorted senses, trouble thinking, and difficulty solving problems.
The leading factor that causes marijuana addiction, or any other substance use addiction, is the excessive release of dopamine. The preliminary high that the said user experience urges them to continue using the substance and, sometimes, increase their dosage. In addition, it may also cause them to seek out other drugs that will prove to be more harmful than marijuana.
There are currently no medications available to treat marijuana addiction. However, behavioral support has the most effective treatment for those who suffer from marijuana addiction. Such forms of treatment include cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and contingency management.
The gateway drug, nicotine, is a drug and vital compound found in the plant known for its dried and fermented leaves, tobacco. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. It is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the United States. Like marijuana, nicotine is widely known and used for the sense of relief and pleasure it brings to those who choose to use it.
How People Use it
Similar to marijuana, there are various forms and ways for one to consume nicotine. Typically, people use nicotine by either smoking, sniffing, or chewing tobacco products through a cigarette, pipe, gum, cigar, or hookah.
Effects of Using
While engaging with the tobacco substance, the nicotine can absorb into the user’s bloodstream. Thus, immediately causing the adrenal glands to release the adrenaline hormone, epinephrine, into the blood vessels. Once the epinephrine reaches the central nervous system, the user’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure will spike. Also, nicotine activates the brain’s reward circuits and increases the chemical messenger dopamine, which reinforces rewarding behaviors. However, after the initial intake, the substance will cause fatigue and depression to ensue, forcing the user to crave more nicotine.
Like alcohol, nicotine is a highly addictive substance. Not to mention it is both a stimulant and depressant. This varies depending on the dosage. Like those who seek and use marijuana to find relief from day-to-day stresses, the same is for those who choose to consume nicotine. Their anxieties and troubles are making them seek out more of the substance to distract themselves. It is just a matter of willpower. Is the person stuck using nicotine as a distraction, or are they willing to push through their hardships more organically?
Regarding the options for treating nicotine addiction, both behavior therapies and medications have proven successful for those who sought help and recovery. Additional treatment options include nicotine replacement therapies (using a nicotine patch, gum, inhaler, nasal spray, and pills), and counseling. You do not need to suffer through addiction alone. If you, or someone you love, have an addiction then please contact us today. Our specialists will help you start your healthier life now.
Adolescents and Adults
For both adolescents and adults, experimenting with drugs may be seen as a coping mechanism to deal with any stress or troubles going on in life. However, to better prevent going down a road of possible destruction, pain, and suffering, it is highly recommended to consider taking a different route or distraction. This route is mainly for those who are younger.
When a person tries one drug, then they will likely try another drug. However, the other substance will be more potent, more powerful, and more addictive than the last. Thus, initiating the individual’s development pursuing more dangerous drugs and risk becoming addicted to stronger drugs. Whether at that moment or later on in life.
Gateway drugs are typically known enticing their users to further their drug use to pursue harder drugs. Unfortunately, this can happen when an individual is in middle school, high school, college, or is a full-grown adult. The list of gateway drugs above is only a few of the theorized substances. Still, though they may not always lead to any development of an addiction, the chances of initiating that lead are always there. Addiction is a compulsive, complex disease, and some people may be more susceptible to it than others. Nevertheless, the best way to prevent and avoid risking behavior is not to engage in drugs’ practice and usage.
To summarize, if you or someone you love is using or considering using any form of drug substance, gateway, or not, do not hesitate to call 614-510-6247. Please, do not wait. Reach out. Seek the professional help you need. Take the first step towards a drug and alcohol-free life and call. We are here to help.
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