Outlining Gateway Drugs
There are many causes of addiction, but gateway drugs are becoming more well known as a source for addictive behavior. While some gateway drugs are not addictive, they may lead to the use of other addictive drugs and set the limbic system of the brain to reward addictive behavior. The Gateway drug theory extends a belief that the use of less potent substances can lead to future use of more dangerous hard drugs. Here are a couple examples of gateway drugs:
Cigarettes & E-Cigarettes / Hookah Pens
CIgarettes are not recognized as a drug but can lead to many different repetitive/addictive behaviors. Like Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes are trending little smoking devices are also driving gateways. Both of which contain nicotine and both trigger the limbic system (also known as the pleasure/reward system), the exact same way that alcohol or other hard drugs does. Thus, the person consuming nicotine smoke would be accumulating the same addictive behavior.
Sleeping aids are often used out of medical necessity and not for addicting purposes, but over time the user may feel that he/she is in continuous needs of its calming effects. Sleeping pills may cause effects similar to being drunk. This drug is commonly a gateway to heroin which also has similar effects.
Cough medicine is an easy to obtain substance that can easily be abused and may open the door to hard drugs such as meth and cocaine. A study in 2008 found that one in every ten teens in the US have abused one of the common ingredients in cough medicine, dextromethorphan. Taken in high quantities, dextromethorphan produces an intense high. This is another one of the substances that can open the door for many more drugs.
The following theory after the gateway drug theory, would be the reverse gateway theory. Marijuana smoking is a perfect outline for the reverse gateway theory. The increased cannabis use predicts later tobacco abuse and nicotine addiction. At the same time it can work quite oppositely. As the human body builds up a resistance to the highs of Marijuana, this can lead users to consume stronger drugs to reach a stronger or better high. Although Marijuana may not be a direct cause of other hard drug use, it can be an indirect gateway. When people are stressed out they sometimes turn to drugs to mask the feelings, and as the drug’s effects wear off, the feeling of stress returns in a more amplified state.
These theories are still still being tested and still in theory, but it may be behooving to avoid such habits to not build an addiction to heavy hitting hard drugs. Addiction of any form is very bad and can lead to a worse position in life. Addiction can break family ties, disturb your efficiency at work, upset current relationships, and cause a person to withdraw from life. Breaking away from addiction is often a lengthy process that should be avoided.