Here are Pomarri – substance abuse detox center in Utah, we safely treat polysubstance abuse on an outpatient basis. Here are some key facts about polysubstance abuse and its associated dangers.
According to The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, for example, polysubstance abuse or dependence is “a type of substance dependence disorder in which an individual uses at least three different classes of substances indiscriminately and does not have a favorite drug that qualifies for dependence on its own.” It adds that those who exhibit this are “addicted to being in an intoxicated state without a preference for one particular substance” (emphasis added).
Studies consistently show that although any combination of three drugs might be used in a case of polysubstance abuse, alcohol is frequently used in combination with other substances. Alcohol, cocaine, and heroin is an especially common combination, but you will often see marijuana, opiates, benzos, amphetamines, hallucinogens, and inhalants used in combination as well.
Research on the causes of polysubstance abuse is still ongoing. So far, we know that it can develop in a number of ways. An individual might start by abusing one substance, for example, only to move on to additional substances in order to fill voids not relieved by the first substance. An individual might also move on to other substances after building tolerance to a first substance. Sometimes people use multiple substances at once in an effort to compound the effects of certain substances, and sometimes people prefer to use different substances at different times and in different situations. Alternatively, someone might turn to additional substances because they are cheaper and more readily accessible. Then, of course, underlying mental disorders can also be a contributing factor.
The dangers of polysubstance abuse rehab vary widely because polysubstance abuse can involve any number and combination of substances. Each abused substance will have its own unique effects on the body, and using multiple substances together can, of course, also compound the effects of each substance involved. In addition, while we know a great deal about how various substances affect the body on their own, much less is known about how multiple substances together can affect the body. Below are just some of the unique complications that are known to arise with chronic polysubstance abuse.
Polysubstance abuse treatment center can have a wide range of negative physical effects, all dependent on which substances are involved. When an individual uses both alcohol and cocaine, for example, an entirely new chemical called cocaethylene forms in the body. Cocaethylene has been linked to liver damage, seizures, and immune system damage. When someone uses both alcohol and ecstasy, on the other hand, there is greater strain on the liver and kidneys, and that person is more likely to become dehydrated or get heatstroke. And if someone uses both opiates and cocaine, they are more likely to suffer from blood vessel rupture, heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest. In addition to these physical effects of polysubstance abuse, an individual can experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, depending on which substances were abused.
Polysubstance abuse is known to impair learning ability—particularly verbal learning ability. It can also impair your memory, ability to process information, and ability to reason and make decisions. While many substances are known to impair certain mental functions on their own, researchers suggest that misusing multiple substances has more severe effects on working memory and reasoning.
Those who abuse three or more substances regularly report poorer mental health than those who abuse a single substance. Studies have observed, for example, that polysubstance users report higher levels of general psychological distress and more symptoms of anxiety and depression.