When you think about substance abuse, you may only think about people using one drug. However, many people use more than one drug when they can’t achieve the effects that they seek. Sometimes they combine drugs to alter the impact of others. In either case, the use of multiple drugs is polysubstance abuse.
Polysubstance Abuse Overview
Combining alcohol and prescription or illicit drugs is the main definition of polydrug abuse. Aside from enhancing the effects of one drug, some people use one substance to counteract another. For example, they might use a sedative to downplay the stimulant effects of cocaine.
Some people use whatever they can get their hands on if they don’t have access to their drugs of choice. In other cases, there’s no explanation for why people combine substances. No matter the reason, their addictive behaviors are dangerous and could cause fatal reactions.
Common Combinations of Drugs
Alcohol is one of the most common substances that people combine with others such as antidepressants, cocaine, and weed. Taking alcohol with depressants is particularly dangerous because alcohol also slows down the central nervous system (CNS). Using them together can slow down the CNS so much that people enter comas or completely stop breathing.
It’s also common for people to combine depressants with stimulants, which is a speedball. The depressants lower blood pressure and heart rate, but stimulants do the opposite. However, stimulants typically wear off faster, which can lead to slowed or stopped breathing.
Antidepressants and MDMA are another common combinations. Many people use antidepressants to counteract the reduction in serotonin that MDMA causes. The problem is that some antidepressants can cause serotonin syndrome when people use them in this way. This condition can be fatal.
People commonly combine cigarettes and cocaine as well. Both of these drugs affect dopamine, a chemical that regulates several bodily functions. Each one makes addiction to the other worse, so people often find it hard to overcome these substances.
Dangers of Polydrug Abuse
Polydrug abuse has several risks depending on which drugs and the amounts that people mix. It puts them at risk for heart attacks, heatstroke, respiratory failure, and seizures. They could also suffer stomach bleeding, brain damage, liver damage and failure, coma and death.
Effective Treatment Solutions
There are several addiction therapy services that can help people overcome polydrug abuse. They can get the most comprehensive level of care in residential programs. These provide detox, intensive counseling, peer support and treatment for co-occurring disorders.
However, some people can get the care that they need in outpatient programs as well. These include the same services. The difference is that they don’t provide 24-hour monitoring because the clients don’t live at the facilities during treatment.
Overcome Polysubstance Abuse Today
You can overcome urges and cravings to use multiple drugs together. Morningside Recovery offers detox and residential treatment in Orange County, California. Examples of our rehab programs include:
- Pet-friendly drug rehab
- Rehab for men
- Rehab for women
- Aftercare program
Don’t let polysubstance abuse rule your life and destroy it. Get the care that you need now. Call 855-631-2135 so that Morningside Recovery can help you.