Can alcohol serve as a gateway drug? - Sovereign Health Group
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Can alcohol serve as a gateway drug?
11-24-17 Category: Alcohol

Can alcohol serve as a gateway drug?

People abusing alcohol never see addiction coming. The malaise creeps up on them after a few bouts of indulgence. While leisure drinking can make some people hooked on alcohol, others may get caught unawares in the seductive glitz of trendy alcoholic beverages. Depending on one’s personal tolerance levels, it could take some days to a couple of months for addiction to entrench itself firmly in an individual.

Sadly, addiction to alcohol is all about seeking a remedy to self-medicate one’s mental agony and misery. Under such circumstances, an alcohol user may be forced toward other highly addictive substances, such as cocaine or heroin, in case he or she doesn’t get the next drink.

According to a recent study published in the Science Advances in November 2017, researchers at the Columbia University concluded that prior use of alcohol may heighten the users’ vulnerability to cocaine addiction. The researchers enlisted the help of lab rats to explore the link between alcohol consumption and cocaine abuse.

The study team divided mice into three groups, namely, alcohol primed, alcohol concurrent and alcohol naive. The alcohol primed mice were first fed alcohol voluntarily for 10 days followed by voluntary cocaine injections for another 21 days, whereas the alcohol concurrent mice were allowed to consume both alcohol and cocaine simultaneously for 31 days. Finally, the alcohol naive mice were made to drink water for 10 days followed by voluntary cocaine injections for 21 days.

The researchers found that the alcohol primed mice displayed considerable levels of addiction when compared to the other two groups. Further, despite the adverse impact of cocaine on them, the alcohol primed mice were eager for more cocaine doses. Such an overwhelming display of addictive behaviors in alcohol primed mice led the researchers to conclude that prior use of alcohol could serve as a gateway drug.

Alcoholism a serious problem in US

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 15.1 million Americans aged 18 and older struggled with alcohol use disorder (AUD), pushing the afflicted ones toward a perpetual search for the next drink. Many people are languishing in the clutches of this socially accepted substance without knowing that its excessive consumption can make them susceptible to chronic mental and physical health issues.

Historically, addiction to alcohol has been a major problem in the American society. But it is only during the last generation that researchers concluded AUD is the result of irreversible modifications in brain structure and function owing to prolonged use of alcohol. The following symptoms could be the possible indicators of an AUD:

  • Consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly over extended periods.
  • Failing time and again while attempting to rein in the urge to drink.
  • Putting in significant time and effort to obtain alcohol to feed one’s urges.
  • Being unable to perform one’s personal and professional duties.
  • Continuing to drink despite facing interpersonal or social problems.
  • Indulging in risky behaviors such as binge drinking, which can be deadly.
  • Consuming alcohol despite psychological issues.
  • Building successive higher levels of tolerance with every drink.

Kicking alcohol addiction

In a bid to self-medicate their agony, many people fall prey to alcohol faster than they might ever realize. The long-lasting effect of alcohol further aggravates their mental health, plunging them deeper into the abyss of desolation. Many a time, an individual with alcoholism may experience a range of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, mood swings and fatigue, which need to be effectively addressed during a patient’s stay in a rehab, where they can avail professional treatment to break free from the stronghold of addiction to alcohol.

Sovereign Health is a leading provider of addiction treatment in the U.S. Sovereign Health of San Clemente offers a variety of customized treatments for alcohol addiction in California. The clinicians at our world-class rehab centers for alcohol abuse in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe effective treatments, including detoxification and group psychotherapy, based on the patient’s requirements. If you or your loved one is battling alcoholism, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representative to lead an addiction-free life.

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