If you’ve ever watched a special or read news about addiction, you’ve heard of gateway drugs. But, what is a gateway drug exactly? What makes a substance a gateway drug? And, are they as dangerous non-gateway drugs? In this article, we attempt to help people understand gateway drugs better. This way, they can spread this information to others to help prevent addiction. And, to help people who may be struggling with gateway drug use get the help they may need if addiction ever does arise.
What is a Gateway Drug?
You can understand what to do about gateway drug abuse or if you or someone you love may be developing an issue with these substances, you have to understand what gateway drugs are. Essentially, gateway drugs are drugs that don’t necessarily need to be physically addictive. This means that with use, the body will never biologically change to adapt to use. So, when these substances are no longer used, people don’t experience withdrawal symptoms like they would with biologically addicting substances. However, gateway drugs can be psychologically addictive. This means that individuals can experience psychological withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop use which may include severe cravings, paranoia, and negative emotions.
Why Using Gateway Drugs is Dangerous
So, if gateway drugs aren’t physically addictive, why do people say they are so dangerous? Basically, they’re dangerous because in many cases, people who become psychologically dependent on gateway drugs are at risk for using other, physically addictive drugs. Thus, developing addictions to physically addictive substances like cocaine or heroin. Typically, this happens when a person runs out of their gateway drug and wants to get high regardless of what they use. And, when people don’t understand the dangers of gateway drugs.
Some Examples of Gateway Drugs
So, what are some examples of gateway drugs? When you’re aware of the dangers of gateway drugs and understand which substances are gateway drugs, you can spread this knowledge onto others. And, potentially help people steer clear of developing life-changing, debilitating addictions. Some examples of gateway drugs include:
- Prescription medications
It’s important to note that alcohol and prescription medications can most definitely be physically addictive. But, in most cases, when people use these substances, they use them with no intention to experience a high. Alcohol is legal to consume, so addiction can start with casually drinking. And, prescription medications are given to people who need them for medical reasons. So, the people who become addicted to these medications most likely have started using these medications with the intention for medical use. However, sadly, even though the use of these substances is usually without ill intention, addiction can commence later on with long term use. So, in these cases, these are gateway drugs because they aren’t initially used to get high. But, they end up leading to addiction.
Getting Help with Addiction That Stems from Gateway Drugs
Have you or a loved one developed an addiction after using gateway drugs? Fortunately, there is help available with treatment.
Here at Willow Place for Women, we help women who are struggling with addiction establish healthier lifestyles. And, give them the tools to live without using harmful, addictive substances. To learn more about our programs and enrolling at our facility, please contact us today.