The idea of gateway drugs includes substances that are habit-forming, but not necessarily harmfully addictive themselves. Using these drugs could potentially lead the person to try harder drugs with a much higher potential for abuse and addiction. Teens are often especially at risk to trying these types of drugs and eventually being led to harder drug use.\r\nTheory of Gateway Drugs\r\n\r\n\r\nAlso known as the stepping-stone theory, or progression theory, the gateway drugs theory postulates that similar habits of use and changes to the brain eventually can lead to using harder drugs. Because drugs falling into this category also boost dopamine levels and increase pleasure, it prepares the brain to respond to other substances. The term cross-sensitization describes this phenomenon. It increases brain activity and may make users start craving stronger results.\r\n\r\nVery few hard drug users try drugs such as heroin, cocaine or meth as their very first experience with drug use. Most of these users have already tried or regularly used one of the gateway substances. The three substances primarily identified as gateway risks include marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco or nicotine.\r\nExamples of Gateway Drugs\r\nSmoking cigarettes, cigars or vaping might seem innocuous on some level, as just another habit like drinking coffee or soda. However, these substances still function as drugs and many times people take them up in response to a stressful situation or other triggers. Teens especially tend to use these drugs in social situations such as at a party.\r\n\r\nMarijuana also tends to have the reputation as a soft drug or something non-addictive. It even allegedly has a number of positive medical effects. However, regardless of its legitimate uses, numerous studies show that people who use marijuana have an increased risk of going on to other drugs like heroin or cocaine.\r\n\r\nAlcohol is yet another socially accepted substance that has mind and mood-altering effects. Alcohol itself can easily lead to addiction if the person is using it to escape or relieve stress. Drinking alcohol in social situations or at parties can also lead to other drugs entering the picture. Hard drug users often mix alcohol with other drugs.\r\nGateway Drugs Addiction and Treatment\r\nIf a gateway drug has led you down the road to addiction, whether to the drug itself or a harder drug, professional treatment can provide the solution. At Beaches Recovery in Jacksonville, Florida, we offer comprehensive addiction treatment to facilitate a lasting recovery. Some of our addiction treatment services include:\r\n\r\n \tIndividualized care\r\n \tGroup therapy\r\n \tSupervised medical detox for safe withdrawal\r\n \tExperiential therapy\r\n \tDual diagnosis treatment\r\n \tTreatments for alcohol, heroin, cocaine addictions\r\n \tAll facets of care from residential to outpatient to transitional living\r\n\r\nIf you or a loved one is struggling with the pain of addiction, don't wait, reach out to Beaches Recovery today. Give us a call at <a href='tel:8666050532'>866.605.0532</a> and find out how we can help you stop addiction from controlling your life.