Notwithstanding, these findings are indicative of a polysubstance pattern that is noteworthy and contrasting to our regional and international counterparts. This represents a unique challenge to stakeholders that requires further research to elucidate appropriate reduction strategies. Either way, taking drugs or combining them can aggravate mental health symptoms and make them worse.

polysubstance abuse

Study shows that these medications are often combined with alcohol or marijuana, which makes them abusive. It may be very dangerous and sometimes deadly to consume alcohol with prescription medications. Individuals may drink more than usual due to the interaction of the drugs, and that could result in a higher blood alcohol concentration.

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. At Transformations Treatment Center, we specialize in the treatment of substance use disorders, including the complex issues that tend to characterize polysubstance abuse.

Help from your health care provider, family, friends, support groups or an organized treatment program can help you overcome your drug addiction and stay drug-free. Polysubstance abuse that involves prescription drugs, even cold medicines, may also have severe consequences. The cough syrup dextromethorphan may cause hallucinations, and promethazine-codeine cough syrup may induce sedative effects.

Preventing drug misuse in children and teenagers

This may consist of combining prescription drugs with alcohol, other prescription drugs, or illicit street drugs. The risk of overdose is always possible with any substance abuse, but the risk will be more significant when multiple drugs are abused. Since certain drugs will mask the effects of the other drugs, the users may inadvertently take a much higher dose than usual because they don’t feel the full impact of just the one substance.

When drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs in combination with prescription opioids, for example, you’re courting disaster. Due to the intricacies and subtleties of addictions to multiple substances, treatment is more complicated. Viewed broadly, though, there are some specific dangers brought about by polysubstance abuse. Given the deliberate nature of the destructive behavior involved – getting high for the sake of it – polysubstance abuse presents its own particular challenges and dangers. The term substance use disorder is now applied to anyone with a problem with drink or drugs, regardless of the number of substances being used.

Many social factors, including mass media, contribute to patients’ expectation that drugs should be used to relieve all distress. Polysubstance abuse is the act of taking more than one drug at a time or not being particular about the drugs one takes. Medically supervised detox is the process of eliminating substances from the body in a safe and controlled environment. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, including hallucinations, seizures, and convulsions.

  • Other people intentionally engage in polysubstance miuse in an effort to experience greater effects from multiple substances.
  • Substance abuse will worsen the symptoms of mental health disorders, which will lead to a mental health issue to worsen substance abuse.
  • People use cannabis by smoking, eating or inhaling a vaporized form of the drug.
  • Polysubstance abuse can include one or more street drugs, one or more prescription drugs, or both.

The original study consisted of a cross-sectional survey conducted between April and July 2016 of a nationally representative sample of 4,623 participants between the age of 12 and 65 years . The sampling design was developed eco sober house complaints by experts from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica . Jamaica consists of 3 counties, 14 parishes and 5,771 Enumeration Districts , which are the smallest geographic units that allow for collection of survey data.

She reported difficulty when she tried to cut back sweet, salty, or fatty foods and reported feelings of withdrawal if she removed these foods from her diet completely. She also reported challenges in her work as a nurse, as she felt more sluggish after eating a lot of food. She reported that food was now providing less comfort and help for her negative emotions than it did previously, and she has grown somewhat tolerant to the food.

Polysubstance Abuse Definition

Note that is different from polydrug use, which is the concurrent use of multiple medications for medical purposes. Overall, inpatient treatment makes the best fit for most people suffering from polysubstance abuse. This allows for medical detox so you can withdraw from the substances in question as safely and comfortably as possible. Perhaps the main motivator for those deliberately abusing a combination of drugs is the way this enhances the effects, both mental and physical, of the substances in question. Mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines, for example, leads you to get intoxicated more rapidly. Since these substances both work on the brain’s GABA receptors, taking them in tandem enhances their sedative effects, while simultaneously increasing the chance of withdrawal.

Some studies even suggest that cocaine users will regularly drink alcohol to combat the anxieties that their drug use can bring. All of these situations are amplified in the case of polysubstance abuse. The goal of the polydrug user is to achieve an intense feeling of euphoria, or high. For some people abusing several substances, combining drugs magnifies the effects of each drug. Others simply abuse whatever drug is on hand with the goal of altering their consciousness at any cost. The term polysubstance use, inclusive of its definition, social and health impact, has not been included in the messaging by the relevant bodies, as part of addressing substance use education on a national scale.

What is Polysubstance Abuse?

For one thing, the risk of overdose is always an issue for any person taking multiple drugs, especially when experimenting with substances they aren’t familiar with, or that they use on a regular basis. Buying drugs on the street from a variety of places increases the risk of getting something that contains fentanyl without knowing how powerful it can be. Fentanyl mixed with heroin or street opioids has helped escalate the opioid epidemic.

Current research findings indicate that people affected by polysubstance abuse experience physical and mental changes that distinguish them from people who only abuse a single substance. These changes affect the basic structures of the brain, as well as the ability to control behavior and use higher-level mental functions such as logic and decision-making. In fact, the differences between polysubstance abusers and single-substance abusers are large enough that doctors may need to develop unique approaches for dealing with the problems that affect each group. Among people who abuse drugs or alcohol, regular consumption of multiple substances is more the norm than the exception.

Poly addicts crave a good drug synergy and this is the high they are chasing each time they use. Some commonly inhaled substances include glue, paint thinners, correction fluid, felt tip marker fluid, gasoline, cleaning fluids and household aerosol products. Due to the toxic nature of these substances, users may develop brain damage or sudden death.

  • Taking drugs considered less addicting — so-called “light drugs” — can start you on a pathway of drug use and addiction.
  • Inspire Malibu isJoint Commission accreditedand has been designated a Higher Level of Care from the Department of Health Care Services.
  • Additionally, those living in rural areas were 1.508 times more likely than participants living in urban areas to report past month polysubstance use.
  • Withdrawal symptoms for each drug may be addressed one at a time, with the more severe withdrawal symptoms getting the top priority.

Although most instances of polysubstance abuse include mixing illegal drugs and alcohol, prescription meds may also be involved. These medications that are prescribed by a medical professional may help with the physical or emotional problem; they do become addictive and are highly abused. However, there are studies that have found evidence of the influence of genes on vulnerability to substance dependence. These studies often use genotype, or the genetic information found on a person’s chromosomes, and phenotype, which consists of the visible features of a person, to look at genetic patterns. One study examined the phenotype and genotype of 1,858 participants from 893 families to look at differences in three nicotinic acetylcholine receptor genes found within these individuals. The experimenters found significant connections between receptor genes for nicotine and polysubstance dependence, which indicated that differences in these genes can create the risk of being dependent on multiple substances.

In many cases, a person starts using drugs to try to self-treat mental illness. A person’s genes, the action of the drug, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and environmental stress can all be factors. There is insufficient data to draw on to determine whether it’s more effective to treat the abuse of each substance separately, or whether to address all substance issues head-on. Beyond this, someone classified with polysubstance use disorder under the old framework in earlier editions of DSM doesn’t necessarily need to qualify as dependent on any of the substances individually. The main objective of treatment at Soledad House is to achieve and maintain abstinence. We emphasize relapse prevention, faith-based rehab programs, and various addiction treatment therapies designed to help you or a loved one regain what you’ve previously lost to substance use.

Complications Due to Co-occurring Mental Health Issues

Allegedly, more than 70% of the US cocaine supply is contaminated with levamisole, which can cause agranulocytosis and purpuric eruptions in association with lupus anticoagulant and/or positive C-ANCA and P-ANCA. Unfortunately, detection of levamisole is challenging, as specific testing is not routinely available; furthermore, levamisole has a short half-life and the sensitivity of the available testing is low. •A 43-year-old woman developed tender, stellate, purpuric patches and plaques on the pinnae and both legs, fixed livedo racemosa on both arms and thighs, and splinter hemorrhages in the fingernails. She reported having used cocaine daily starting 1 month before the onset of the skin lesions. Biopsy showed extensive occlusion of small superficial and deeper dermal blood vessels by fibrin thrombi, without vasculitis.

A study involving 63 polysubstance dependent women and 46 controls used the Benton Visual Retention Test and the California Verbal Learning Test to look at visual memory and verbal ability. This study showed that in polysubstance dependent women, verbal learning ability was significantly decreased, though visual memory was not affected. In addition, alcohol and cocaine use led to more severe issues with verbal learning, recall, and recognition. They also found a percent increase in predicted risk of serious outcomes from combining the drugs compared to using only benzodiazepines. When it comes to fatalities related to benzodiazepine use, they most often occur when the drugs are mixed with other substances of misuse. The central nervous system is depressed by opioids and stimulated by cocaine.

Opiates and other narcotics are powerful painkillers that can cause drowsiness, and sometimes intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy. These include heroin, opium, codeine, and narcotic pain medicines that may be prescribed by a doctor or bought illegally. SAMHSA reports a 55% increase in overdoses combining opioids and benzos, a worryingly lethal combo.

Research suggests that women addicts more frequently have a family history of substance use. When asked to describe their onset of addictions, women more frequently describe their addiction as sudden where as men describe them as gradual. Females have a higher percentage of fatty tissues and a lower percentage of body water than men. This means these substances are at a higher concentration in a woman’s bloodstream. Female addicts are known to be at greater risk for fatty liver disease, hypertension, anemia, and other disorders. Also offered to patients are one-on-one counseling sessions and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Ongoing drug or alcohol use that interferes with work, school, or home duties. It may seem like you’ve recovered and you don’t need to keep taking steps to stay drug-free. But your chances of staying drug-free will be much higher if you continue seeing your therapist or counselor, going to support group meetings and taking prescribed medicine. A strong, stable bond between you and your child will reduce your child’s risk of using or misusing drugs. Spending money to support drug use takes away money from other needs, could lead to debt, and can lead to illegal or unethical behaviors. Due to the toxic nature of inhalants, users may develop brain damage of different levels of severity.

  • How sensitive the test is depends on the drug itself, when the drug was taken, and the testing laboratory.
  • This model indicated no significant associations between marital status and religious status and past month polysubstance use.
  • The key with any substance misuse treatment program is that care is tailored to the individual needs of each client.
  • There was slight myelin pallor in the cerebral hemispheres and brainstem.
  • Cigarette smokers who abuse cocaine, by contrast, are at heightened risk, of myocardial infarction.

The root etiology of polysubstance abuse disorder is highly speculative. Recurrent substance use and built-up tolerance usually serve as substance abuse disorder criteria, resulting in greater substance use; however, genetics are estimated to be responsible for between 40% and 60% of the risk. In addition to personal adversities, polysubstance abuse disorder may jeopardize many aspects of a person’s life. For example, keeping up with attention-demanding responsibilities like office or schoolwork and maintaining relationships becomes nearly impossible with prolonged substance use. At our center, we offer residential and outpatient treatment programs for substance abuse in West Virginia.

A worldwide yearly survey of new data in adverse drug reactions and interactions

Unfortunately, she continued to report thinking about food about 50%–70% of the time throughout the day, which she found very distressing. Another option that was considered was prescribing baclofen with naltrexone, as baclofen is a GABAB agonist that has been shown to help with drugs of abuse as well as binge eating. It was thought that given her high YFAS score, as well as both her personal and family history of substance addiction, she has a food addiction in addition to binge eating disorder. At the time of this writing, she has declined using naltrexone, stating her preference to continue to work with her psychotherapist and continue her current medication regimen prior to adding an additional medication. However, this case illustrates the complexities of treating an individual with food addiction and demonstrates pharmacotherapies to consider when treating someone with obesity and binge eating disorder. For example, using multiple substances may be to self-medicate, cope with a mental health disorder, or enhance the effects of other substances.

Author: thein

Polysubstance Abuse Signs & Causes