Polydrug use is when a person habitually uses more than one substance, often with the intent of enhancing or countering the effects of another drug. Additionally, someone struggling with addiction can find themselves dealing with polysubstance use simply because their preferred drug is unavailable – or, perhaps too costly – at the time they find themselves wanting to use.
An example of this type of multi-substance use disorder is when heroin and cocaine are abused together – a combination known as a speedball. Regardless of the substances being abused, though, polydrug use is extremely dangerous due to the way it impacts your health.
What is Polydrug Use?
Put simply, polydrug abuse is defined as the consistent abuse of at least two illicit drugs, including alcohol and licit substances used for nonmedical purposes. Polydrug use can include:
- Mixing opioids with amphetamines
- Mixing amphetamines with alcohol
- Mixing prescription pills with illegal drugs, or
- Combining all of the above to feed an addictive impulse that is raging out of control
These forms of polysubstance use come with a wide variety of physical dangers and are difficult to manage due to the way they can negatively impact the functionality of multiple bodily organs.
Why is Polydrug Use Popular?
Polysubstance abuse tends to be more of a psychological issue instead of a physical one. Many who struggle with polydrug use were more focused on chasing the high of intoxication than feeding the physical addiction.
This is regularly achieved when two or more drugs are taken together to amplify the effects of each individual drug or substance so that the total effect is greater than each individual substance taken alone. For example, mixing cocaine and alcohol together tend to prolong the high experienced. Mixing benzodiazepines (prescription pills) with amphetamines (cocaine, meth, Adderall) can not only prolong feelings of euphoria, but can also bring about a variety of highs.
Polydrug use can sometimes be attributed to easy availability and expert control on drug effect complications. It’s very risky use and can lead to serious conditions – like sudden heart block or CNS depression, which has been shown to potentially result in a coma and even death.
What Are the Dangers of Polydrug Use?
The impact of polysubstance use has been shown to compound damaging effects on your body, creating a situation where organs can fail and routine bodily functions, like breathing, can become significantly suppressed.
Mixing some drugs may also produce psychological problems, like hallucinating or other psychotic episodes. In addition, polysubstance abuse has been shown to exacerbate existing mental health problems and even induce new symptoms altogether.
Polysubstance use can increase the risk of an accidental overdose, since some drugs can mask the effects of others. This happens if you inadvertently take more than usual because you don’t feel as high as you’d like to be.
What are the Effects of Polydrug Use?
Since the potential combination of substances vary, so do the possible effects and damaging health consequences. Some of the more common substance combinations and their subsequent complications include:
- Cocaine and Opioids Cocaine is proven to be very stressful for the cardiovascular system. It increases your heart rate but constricts your blood vessels. This is a very dangerous combination that has led to blood vessel rupture, heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest.
- Alcohol and Cocaine Combining alcohol is associated with liver damage, seizures and immune system damage. Additionally, the risk of immediate death is approximately 20 times higher when combining alcohol and cocaine use.
- Benzodiazepines and Opioids
Polydrug use is when more than one drug is used. This requires dual diagnosis addiction treatment.
A person who has these drugs in their body may find themselves so sleepy and tired that they pass out when using them. In these circumstances, it is dangerously common for the respiratory system to suppress so significantly while you sleep that you stop breathing altogether and die from the asphyxiation.
Polydrug Use to Sobriety: It’s More than Possible
Wanting to stop a polysubstance addiction is a difficult mountain to climb, but it is not impossible. Finding the proper treatment center that is capable of both diagnosing your substance use disorders and treating them in a safe and secure environment is imperative.
Trying to conquer the disease of addiction on your own can be extremely dangerous when detoxing without expert clinical and medical help. Trying to quit substance abuse on your own creates a situation where your support system and overall accountability is perpetually lacking, making a relapse all the more possible. This is why enlisting the guidance and support of a qualified treatment center is so important to achieving long-term health and sobriety. There is no time to waste; start your recovery journey today.
Get Help to Stop Mixing and Abusing. Discover Life-Changing, Holistic Polydrug Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
Whatever your polydrug addiction is, you can stop and get your entire life back on track. Don’t let polydrug addiction claim your life or hurt those you love the most any longer. There is life-changing support waiting for you at Ranch Creek Recovery and a sober future is possible.
Whatever your situation, Ranch Creek Recovery will tailor a treatment plan to address your specific needs. We go beyond the normal 12-Step program and deliver comprehensive, holistic inpatient services at our serene rehab center in Murrieta, California.
Learn more about our life-changing, holistic treatment programs, or contact us today to start your journey toward detox and recovery.