Polysubstance Use Disorder

What Is Polysubstance Abuse?

Polysubstance abuse disorders occur when an individual develops the habit of using multiple substances and becomes dependent on them. The person may first have a misuse pattern of one substance like alcohol, but they are mainly addicted to consuming any drugs that may combine with the initial substance such as cocaine, Xanax®, heroin, and Adderall®. Co-occurring substance use disorder is not the same thing, the difference being that polysubstance misuse is marked by indiscriminate use of a range of substances rather than having only two primary substances being misused.

For example: In one weekend, a person may start drinking alcohol at a party and then use cocaine mixed with MDMA (ex: ecstasy, molly). At their friend’s house the next day they might start out drinking alcohol and then smoke marijuana before taking a Xanax® while the next night they take MDMA and ketamine at a rave party. The binging pattern of misuse often leads to addiction. The person may start to feel unable to see friends or attend gatherings without taking drugs. While they may not be addicted to one substance in particular, they are addicted to the euphoric feelings and will take any combination of drugs to achieve this effect.

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What are the Signs of Polysubstance Abuse?

If you suspect a loved one is misusing multiple drugs you may be looking for signs of polysubstance use disorder, It may be harder to recognize, but the usual signs below may indicate that someone you know is struggling with polysubstance abuse disorder: A vine pattern with leaves and flowers

  • Notable change in personality or behavior
  • Trouble keeping up with schoolwork, job responsibilities, obligations, or relationships
  • Losing interest in hobbies, activities, friends
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • An increased need for privacy or sneaking around
  • Visible intoxication (slurred speech, disorientation, droopy eyelids, lack of coordination, speaking really fast, dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes, jaw clenching, etc.)
  • Asking for money, stealing money or valuables to buy drugs
  • Going to doctors frequently for prescriptions
  • Disappearing for periods of time without explanation
  • Increased injuries or health issues
  • Getting into problems with the law (DUI, arrest)

Different individuals will display different behaviors, and it may not always be easy to spot in early stages. Polysubstance use disorder can be harder to recognize since the person may not display obvious signs associated with specific substances like opioids or methamphetamine use disorder.

Causes of Polysubstance Use Disorder

Individuals use multiple drugs to achieve a longer-lasting or more intense high. Various contributing factors can lead to an individual developing polysubstance abuse disorder.

These common factors of polysubstance misuse include: 

  • Genetics: Polysubstance abuse disorder can be a genetic, or inherited, diagnosis. If someone like a parent or another family member has been diagnosed with an addiction, it increases your chances of substance abuse and addiction. 
  • Mental health disorder: Having a mental health disorder can contribute to someone abusing multiple substances. Individuals struggling with anxiety or depression, for example, could begin misusing substances to self-medicate and manage their emotions and symptoms on their own.
  • Environmental and social factors: Being in a specific environment or around peers that encourage and readily offer substances can play a part in someone developing polysubstance use disorder.
Drug addiction and mental function with the use of alcohol prescription drugs as a psychiatric or psychiatry concept of the effects on the brain with recreational or medication with 3D illustration elements.

Complications From Polysubstance Use Disorder

There is an increased risk of a heart attack and other health complications, overdose, and drug overdose deaths. The risk increases when mixing substances because a singular drug can mask the effects of another, leading a person to take doses their body is not equipped to handle. 

Similarly, while the short- and long-term effects can vary based on the specific substances combined, there’s an increased chance of severe side effects when misusing multiple substances at once. Any substance can cause negative side effects, but multiple substances in your system can lead to more addictive and severe results.

Another possibility is that the interaction of the substances may compound the effects, which is often the case when two depressants like opioids and alcohol are mixed. Specifically, when individuals are dealing with co-occurring mental health issues, they could experience worsened symptoms. Substances can contribute to complications of co-occurring disorders, leading to more intense side effects.

Misusing multiple substances at once also increases the chances of an overdose. Being unable to feel the full effects of one drug can cause an individual to take more than what they normally would or could handle. An overdose can lead to significant long-term effects or death. 

The medical and clinical teams at Hope For Tomorrow are caring providers who specialize in treating polysubstance use disorder and are here to provide you or a loved one with the tools needed to guide you into a life of long-term recovery.

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Treatment for Polysubstance Abuse 

At Hope For Tomorrow, we offer individualized polysubstance abuse treatment programs. Every individual undergoes an initial assessment to determine which plan would best meet their needs and recovery goals. Our holistic plans are then completely tailored to you. Throughout your treatment, you’ll be supported in our family-like atmosphere by a team of medical providers, nurses and counselors.

Based on your intake results, your substance abuse rehabilitation program could include:

Why Choose Hope for Tomorrow For Polysubstance Abuse Treatment?

Here at Hope For Tomorrow, our staff is both compassionate and committed to your success. Through specialized, evidence-based substance abuse treatment, we put your needs first. 

At our treatment facility, we offer residential and outpatient treatment programs for opioid and alcohol abuse in West Virginia. No matter what your needs are, our goal is to provide you with consistency and help you build a strong foundation for your recovery journey.

Even after you complete your polysubstance abuse treatment program, we offer ways for you to stay connected with us, ensuring you have hope for the future. 

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Don’t let polysubstance use disorder ruin your life — the caring and compassionate clinical team at Hope For Tomorrow are here for you to rediscover life free from addiction.

Our door is open for you to make a change and begin a specialized treatment that will give you hope for tomorrow. Interested in starting your journey today or have any questions about our addiction treatments for substance abuse in the Point Pleasant, West Virginia area?

We invite you to call us at 877-679-8162 to speak with an admissions specialist to learn more about  polysubstance abuse treatment

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