What Is Polysubstance Abuse?
Why People Combine Certain Substances
People may decide to combine substances for a variety of reasons. One reason someone might begin to use multiple substances is that they have a preexisting addiction or abuse disorder. If someone already abuses one substance, it’s more common that they will use another. Someone may also combine certain drugs to experience unique effects or get a more intense high.
But of course, with more intense effects come some severe potential health risks. People also combine different substances with their prescription medications. This could be somewhat accidental in some cases, such as when someone drinks alcohol while they’re on medication and doesn’t realize that adverse effects or abuse may occur.
Drugs that are commonly mixed include alcohol & cocaine, opioids & benzodiazepines, and different combinations of prescription & illicit substances,
Effects of Polysubstance Use & Abuse
Since many substances are not meant to be combined with one another, polysubstance abuse may cause serious side effects and put individuals at risk for a variety of mental and physical health conditions. Polysubstance abuse may result in side effects and health complications suck as:
- Increased severity of both drugs’ negative effects
- Reduced or adjusted metabolism
- Diseases such as hepatitis C
- Co-occurring mental health issues
- Increased risk of overdose
- Increased toxicity in substances
It is important to note that treating overdose from polysubstance abuse is more difficult than treating overdose from just one substance. If anyone you know experiences an overdose after using multiple substances, it is important to seek out emergency medical services. If someone is undergoing withdrawal from more than one substance, they should enroll in an inpatient detox program as soon as possible.