If you have spent years believing that alcohol could not possibly be a gateway drug, you are in good company. You might also be wrong, at least according to new research.

Scientists at Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, and numerous other institutions published their findings in early November with Science Advances. They suggest that alcohol can be a gateway drug, at least for certain substances.

Alcohol Can Send Mixed Signals

It is no wonder that so many people think alcohol is probably safe, at least in moderate quantities. There is well-documented research that shows a positive link between alcohol and health, but the key is the type and amount that is consumed.

Finnish study published in 1999 showed that one bottle of beer a day reduced the likelihood of kidney stones in males who also smoke. Mayo Clinic discusses the link between the antioxidants in red wine and a lower risk of heart health troubles.

However, with the sweet usually comes the sour. There is a big difference between one bottle of beer or glass of red wine a day and overindulging, which causes more harm than good and can also lead to alcohol addiction. If researchers are correct, even a small amount of alcohol could make you more likely to become addicted to cocaine.

Alcohol May Increase the Odds of Cocaine Addiction

Researchers working with lab mice found a higher likelihood of cocaine addiction after consuming alcohol. They also observed a surprising determination to get more cocaine in the presence of negative effects.

Given voluntary access to alcohol for 21 days, mice that were alcohol-primed sought out voluntary cocaine injections. Once access to cocaine was denied, they tried over 500 more times on average before stopping. Control mice that were not alcohol-primed did not exhibit the same behavior.

The effects were not the same in reverse. Mice that were cocaine-primed did not seek out alcohol when given free access to it. Researchers concluded that alcohol creates a condition in the brain that can trigger cocaine addiction.

Florida Alcohol Rehab Offers Multifaceted Help

For people struggling with alcohol addiction, Florida alcohol rehab can be a literal lifesaver. Medically-assisted detox can help with the challenges of withdrawal symptoms, which lets you move directly into a custom tailored program before relapse can happen. Rehab can also help break an addiction to cocaine at the same time.

Co-occurring disorder diagnoses are part of drug and alcohol treatment. In some people, an underlying or co-occurring disorder might be PTSD, ADHD or even an addiction to food, but for many, it is an addiction to cocaine or another drug.

In treatment, you get one-on-one help from professionals who are specialists in addiction. You have access to healthy food, round-the-clock care, music and art therapies, medication if necessary, group and individual therapies, and a host of other treatment options. There is also access to the SMART recovery program.

If you or any of your loved ones are addicted to alcohol, that might not be the whole story. If the research proves to be correct, alcohol could pave the way to become addicted to cocaine as well. Getting into Florida alcohol treatment is the best way to find out and to regain control.

Contact us to learn more about our alcohol and drug treatment programs and all of the options for admissions.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.