What Is a Gateway Drug? Definition of an Underestimated Danger | Need Help? Call 24/7

Research has shown that people become addicted to drugs for a variety of reasons. Some people turn to illegal drugs as a way to manage conditions such as depression. Many individuals become addicts as the result of having a physical disposition to addiction that is triggered when they use drugs or alcohol. Others get hooked on more severely addictive drugs after developing a habit of using gateway drugs. Understanding the phenomenon of gateway drugs can help addicts deal with their problem before it gets worse.

Gateway Drugs Defined

What are gateway drugs? A gateway drug is an addictive substance that can predispose an individual to get addicted to a harsher substance. While many substances can act as gateway drugs, rehab professionals often recognize tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana as the major gateway drugs. Other psychoactive substances, even prescription drugs, can serve as gateway drugs as well.

How Gateway Drugs Work

To expand upon the gateway drug definition, it’s key to consider how gateway drugs work. Research is ongoing, and there is no one commonly accepted theory of why some drugs lead some people to use other drugs later on. For some individuals, the connection is largely a social one: Being involved with others who use drugs may lead a person to be more willing to try a wider variety of addictive substances. There are also possible biological explanations. For example, some animal studies have shown that exposure to a cannabinoid can alter the brain’s dopamine receptors in a way that a harsher drug is needed in order to deliver the same high later on.

Treatment and Gateway Drugs

If you or someone you love is using substances that meet the gateway drug definition, it is imperative that you get help as soon as possible. High-quality drug and alcohol addiction treatment can assist addicts in getting off of gateway drugs before they move on to drugs that are more addicting and can cause greater problems. Individualized care in an accredited rehab facility can make a world of difference in preventing future addiction problems. With personalized treatment in a safe environment under the supervision of addiction treatment professionals, recovery is possible before a person’s struggles with addiction get worse or even turn deadly.

Help Is Available

What are gateway drugs? They’re an open door that leads to a very dark, dangerous path. But Tampa Drug Treatment Center is here to help, whether gateway drugs are the problem or the struggle is with substances such as cocaine, heroin, or opioid pain medications. Our highly skilled patient care team works with each addict to develop a customized treatment plan that addresses the addict’s specific needs and lays the foundation for lasting recovery. Care is administered under the supervision of board-certified doctors and counselors, and this level of treatment is available to people across the country; we’ll even help coordinate transportation if you need assistance getting to the Tampa Bay area. Call today or fill out our form for more information on our programs and to get a free clinical assessment.