When you or someone you know struggles with addiction to drugs it is possible that they begin using more than one drug. For instance, they could be suffering from an alcohol-related disorder and start experimenting with several drugs only to end up developing dependence on one or two substances. When someone abuses several substances they’re diagnosed with polysubstance dependence, generally referred to “polysubstance misuse.” If you really want to overcome alcohol abuse, Alcohol Rehab Places Seattle has a chain of Alcohol Rehab Treatment Centers in Seattle, Washington with certified and experienced medical staff to guide and take care of you at every step of recovery.
What Is Polysubstance Abuse?
Polysubstance abuse isn’t a clinical term as it has been removed from DSM-5 which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The word “abuse” creates this seem like a choice for the individual rather than a medical disease. This is why this condition is now termed polysubstance dependence or use instead of abuse by polysubstances.
What Is Polysubstance Dependence?
Polysubstance dependence is where someone employs multiple substances concurrently to enhance the effects of one or more substances, either deliberately or unintentionally. Also, the person does not have to be chemically dependent on any of the many substances they’re using.
But, some individuals may have a preference for a certain substance which will blend with different substances in some instances. In addition, to be considered to be dependent on polysubstances, one has to use multiple substances for a prolonged period.
There is some debate over how long different substances can be used. Some facilities treat polysubstance-related disorders where multiple substances are used for any period. Other facilities have a wider definition that requires the patient to use more than one substance for a minimum of 12 months.
What happens when someone is unintentionally using Multiple Substance?
Unintentional polysubstance use is when the user misuses multiple substances, which are then cut by other substances. For instance street fentanyl is usually cut with an opioid or heroin to increase its potency as prescription fentanyl. However, the user of the street fentanyl typically has little knowledge of the fact that it was made using multiple substances.
Some of the more common risk factors of polysubstance dependence can include:
Genetics and Family
When someone in the immediate family is addicted to multiple substances, they have more risk of household members experiencing a substance use disorder or dependence on multiple substances. If you have been convicted of alcohol abuse in Seattle, Washington, you may be required to take a 26 Week Alcohol Treatment Program at Alcohol Rehab Places Seattle. Their 26-week Alcohol Treatment Program in Seattle is designed for those who have a more extensive history of alcohol use and/or legal running consequences due to their drinking habits.
Adolescents and Young Adults
If young adults and teenagers are testing the waters of alcohol and drugs, they may be offered a mixture of substances to experiment with. If they are satisfied with the results experienced, there is a higher likelihood they will continue to mix the same substances and experience similar effects again.
As someone develops an aversion to the substance they prefer it is possible to switch to different substances to increase the effects and provide more long-lasting or intense experiences. Furthermore, the body is constantly building tolerance to each substance that is used.
A mental health issue is a risk factor for polysubstance abuse disorder. A few people consume or use substances to manage their symptoms because they are uncomfortable seeking help to treat their mental health issues. However, they frequently discover that mixing several substances is more effective to alleviate symptoms temporarily than misusing a single substance.
Risques of Polysubstance Dependence
All substance use disorders are linked to severe and adverse reactions. When a person is using multiple substances, the dangers become more severe because multiple substances are used concurrently.
A few of the most common adverse reactions can be:
- Heart Rates may be slowed or increased.
- Elevated or Lowered Blood Pressure
- Problems Breathing
- Concentration and Memory Problems
- Black Outs
- Lack of Coordination
- The body is aching and pains
As the time of continuous polysubstance usage continues, and the dosages of these substances increase The most severe side effects can be found:
- Accidental Overdose
- Respiratory Failure
- Heart Attack/Heart Failure
- Deteriorating Mental Health
- Lowered Immune System
- Increase in Infections/Diseases
Commonly used drugs
Although alcohol is among the most common substances used in conjunction with other substances, additional drugs that are frequently used together include:
Benzos (Benzodiazepine) as well as Opioids
Benzos, such as Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin are extremely dangerous when mixed with opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone. Both drugs function as serotonin, which can slow respiration rates and cognitive functions. As per the NIH in 2019 16% of deaths due to overdose were linked to mixing benzos with opioids.1
Cocaine and Ecstasy
A few people take cocaine in combination with ecstasy to boost the duration of their effects. What they’re doing is potentially elevating their blood pressure and heart rates which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Stimulants and Depressants
Stimulants are drugs such as meth, cocaine, and Ecstasy. The most common depressants are alcohol, benzos, and opioids. Mixing these substances typically masks the effects of one of the drugs. In the end, the dangers of overdose are significantly greater. In addition, the effects of the drugs don’t cancel each other out , and are usually unpredictable.
According to the CDC In 2019, more than 50% of all overdose deaths were due to the misuse of several substances.2
What Is Polysubstance Dependence Handled?
Polysubstance dependence is treated in the same manner as other addiction disorders caused by substance misuse. The initial step towards recovery is to undergo supervised detoxification to eliminate the substances from the body. The detox treatment may differ based on the misused substances and may include medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
In cases where the individual is also suffering from a mental health disorder the treatment plan of treatment includes similar therapies to treat co-occurring (dual-diagnosis) conditions. This is why it is crucial to ensure that both addiction and mental health disorders are treated together. In our Private Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers in Seattle, each patient will receive a therapy for addiction to polysubstances adapted to match the substance they used along with the most efficient treatment for their specific needs. For example, therapeutic sessions can help the individual discover the reason they began using various substances.