What Is Polysubstance Abuse?

What Is Polysubstance Abuse?

Polysubstance abuse is a well-known concept in the medical field but is often overlooked in the public domain. Drugs have been used for many generations worldwide, and addiction treatment and rehabilitation have been developed to combat the adverse effects of drug abuse. However, mixing and consuming different types of drugs can lead to unexpected and, at times, fatal consequences. Knowing what polysubstance abuse is may save a life.

What Is Polysubstance Abuse?

It is important to know exactly what polysubstance abuse is before considering available treatment for substance abuse. At its core, polysubstance abuse refers to the consumption of two or more drugs at the same time. The timeframe between the use of drugs can vary, but the consumption of multiple drugs within the same day falls within the purview of polysubstance abuse.

There are several reasons why people resort to polysubstance abuse, including:

  • To find ways to fit in with peers
  • To escape from difficult situations
  • To experience relief from boredom or idle time
  • For curiosity
  • To rebel or deviate from the norm

Ultimately, what differentiates polysubstance abuse from dependency on a single drug is the enhancing effects drugs can have when combined with other drugs. This applies to illicit, prescription, or even over-the-counter drugs. Polysubstance abuse, over a long period, can lead to hospital confinement, drug rehabilitation, or death.

Drug Classifications

There are several widely accepted substance types that are based on chemical make-up and corresponding effects when consumed. These classifications, with examples of each, include:

  • Alcohol – beer, wine, vodka, tequila, champagne
  • Opioids – heroin, Fentanyl, Vicodin, morphine
  • Benzodiazepines – Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Klonopin
  • Cannabinoids – THCA, THC, CBD, CBC, CBN
  • Barbiturates – Aspirin, Butisol, Seconal, Nembutal
  • Hallucinogens – LSD, DMT, PCP

Common Combinations of Drugs

Alcohol is a common base substance used to partner with other drugs for a more potent desired effect. Alcohol itself can be dangerous, especially when consumed regularly and in high volumes. Those who have developed a dependency and have begun to abuse alcohol in combination with other substances can expect disastrous outcomes. Typical combinations of polysubstance abuse that are mixed with alcohol include:

  • Cocaine
  • Energy drinks or caffeinated beverages
  • Painkillers
  • Marijuana
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin

Adverse Effects of Polysubstance Abuse

Polysubstance abuse has reached alarming levels in recent years. A contributing factor to this problem is that people lack the proper knowledge to understand the harmful consequences caused by substance abuse. Polysubstance abuse can cause many effects on a person’s overall well-being, including:

  • Organ damage
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Mental illnesses
  • Damage to relationships
  • Financial troubles
  • Legal issues

How to Treat Polysubstance Abuse

The goal of treating individuals who suffer from polysubstance abuse is to stop them from using drugs and to keep them drug-free for the rest of their lives. Treatment is a daunting task but can be accomplished as long as the people involved are prepared to fully commit to recovery.

The best form of treatment is a program that tackles past issues that contribute to use, present concerns, and future challenges. Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, is a crucial tool to modify how drug-dependents feel about the substances they abuse and helps them find skills and passions that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Family intervention is also vital as loved ones can serve as watchdogs to keep substance abusers drug-free. Mental health counseling is another essential form of treatment to address the deep-seated issues that may have caused individuals to go down the path of polysubstance abuse.

Raise Awareness On Polysubstance Abuse

Now is as good a time as any to spread information regarding polysubstance abuse. Drug dependency is dangerous and harmful to the individual and everyone around them. The more people get involved in promoting awareness and eliminating the stigma surrounding drug abuse, the better the chances of bringing action and solutions to the table, and helping those in need.

Let us all be proactive and advocate for an addiction-free community. Equip everyone with the necessary knowledge about polysubstance abuse. For more information on substance abuse or treatment, contact The Right Step DFW at 1.844.768.1161 today!

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