When drug and alcohol addiction occurs together, it may be known as polysubstance abuse. This isn’t the only kind of multiple substance abuse, though. At Compass Detox, our team is here to help you if you or someone you know is dealing with this condition.
What is Polysubstance Abuse?
Polysubstance abuse is the abuse of multiple kinds of substances at the same time. For example, some people misuse heroin and fentanyl simultaneously, while others combine prescription and illicit drugs, like Xanax and cocaine.
Polysubstance abuse also includes situations where prescription medications are used in nonmedical cases. Interestingly, it’s possible to take part in polysubstance abuse without really realizing it. For example, if someone is taking Xanax and decides to drink a glass of wine, they’re technically participating in polysubstance abuse.
How Does Multiple Substance Abuse Start?
Polysubstance abuse usually is engaged because the person taking the drugs or substances wants to increase the effects. For instance, benzodiazepines have a depressive effect on the body, as does alcohol. If the benzo isn’t strong enough for the individual, they may try to make it work faster or better with added alcohol.
For people who take opioid drugs, combining benzodiazepines is usually done to get a higher level of relaxation from the medications. Unfortunately, this is incredibly dangerous and can lead to a higher risk of death from an overdose.
How Dangerous Is Multiple Drug Addiction?
Multiple substance abuse is hazardous, depending on which drugs are taken. Just as there is a possibility for the benefits of the drugs to increase, there is also a possibility for the adverse side effects to increase.
Some of the risks include:
- Acute health problems from drug interactions or taking too much of a specific substance. For example, hepatitis C is common in people who inject drugs, while heart problems are more common in those who use cocaine.
- Overdosing from combining two similar medications or those with interactions. Some substances interact in ways that counteract the positive side effects others have. As a result, the effects of that substance may not be felt, and a person may take more than intended. In a worst-case scenario, this can lead to an overdose and coma, or death.
- Developing mental health issues. Sometimes, substance use disorders create or worsen mental health issues. Polysubstance abuse has the potential to lead to worsened substance abuse and mental health issues.
- Complications during treatment. Once a person does seek treatment for polysubstance abuse, they may find that it’s more complicated than a singular addiction. This is because certain substances may counteract reversal drugs or medications that may otherwise be helpful to the person seeking treatment.
Is it Possible to Treat Polysubstance Abuse?
Yes. Like other forms of substance abuse, polysubstance abuse can be treated effectively if the right plan is in place, to begin with. In these cases, co-occurring disorders are likely, so it’s important to work with medical professionals or drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs to put together a detoxification plan and recovery treatment goals.
Since polysubstance abuse may have many drugs involved, the medical team may need to be present during the detox to help manage withdrawal symptoms, and any serious symptoms that result as the substances leave the patient’s body.
Contact Compass Detox to Learn More about Polysubstance Abuse
At Compass Detox, our compassionate team is here to help with a full medical staff ready at our 24-hour detox center. Multiple drug addiction is dangerous, but our team is prepared with a wide variety of services to support you or a loved one as you go through withdrawal and move forward in recovery. We provide detox services for a variety of substances so that you can feel better sooner. Contact us today at 800.263.3869, or contact us online for more information.