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A gateway drug is any mood-altering drug (a stimulant or a tranquilizer) that may or may not cause physical dependence but opens a path for using other addictive drugs that lie at the top of the hierarchy. Gateway drugs are considered stepping stones for more potent substance abuse, says the drug addiction treatment centers near me.
According to drug addiction treatment centers, gateway drugs like marijuana, nicotine, alcohol, etc. boost dopamine levels, which produces a euphoric feeling in humans. The gateway drugs consumed during adolescence ensure that the brain releases less dopamine during adulthood, which instigates users to seek more potent drugs for more dopamine releases and dramatic effects.
Substance use triggers a rewarding feeling in the regions of the person's brain, and it is due to this feeling that the urge to consume more and more arises and causes addiction.
Different drugs have disparate effects on the body, depending on the person's drug endurance, general health and body size, and several other factors. They generally affect the body's central nervous system (involving how one feels, thinks, and behaves).
Depressants slow down the functioning of your brain, making your ability to respond to surroundings slower. In contrast, Hallucinogens distort your sense of what is real and affect you mentally and psychologically. Stimulants speed up your brain functions and make you alert and confident.
Side effects vary from person to person, depending on their age, general health, etc. The impact of drug addiction can be all-encompassing, leaving no part of the user's life untouched. Some of the common side effects as per drug addiction treatment centers may include structural and functional changes of the brain, unintentional injuries, weakening of the immune system, impaired decision-making, worsening of emotional wellbeing, crumbling interpersonal relationships, etc.