detox and rehab treatment for polydrug addiction, polysubstance use disorder treatment

Polydrug addiction is when an individual struggles with more than one drug addiction. It can lead to several repercussions and complex health issues in the long term. This form of substance abuse can exacerbate the challenges and risks of addiction as a result of unpredictable drug interactions and side effects.

What is Polysubstance Use?

Polysubstance use refers to the use of more than one substance at a time. Many individuals intentionally engage in polydrug use as a means to balance, counteract, or heighten the effects of another substance. Unintentional polydrug use can occur when an individual takes a drug that has been mixed or laced with other substances, like fentanyl, without their knowledge. Polysubstance use can be life-threatening as the effects of combining drugs can be unpredictable and more potent than on its own. Multiple drug use can involve mixing both illicit and legal substances, such as alcohol, prescription drugs, or recreational drugs.

man struggling with polydrug addiction

One of the most common types of polysubstance abuse involves mixing a stimulant with a depressant. Stimulants speed up the central nervous system’s (CNS) function, while depressants slow it down. Mixing stimulants, such as ecstasy, cocaine, or prescription Adderall, can result in extremely high blood pressure and rapid heart rate. Polydrug use with stimulants can increase the risk of heart attack, brain damage, stroke, and fatal overdose.

Mixing central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs such as opioids or benzodiazepines can result in slowed breathing and memory impairments. Abusing opioids like morphine, heroin, and fentanyl makes individuals more susceptible to organ and brain damage, overdose, and death. Combining these two types of drugs can mask the side effects of one another, resulting in unpredictable symptoms and health consequences like overdose.

The Long-Term Consequences of Polydrug Use

While the immediate effects of polydrug use might not seem alarming, it can have severe social consequences and health impacts in the future. Individuals with polydrug addiction often begin mixing substances to self-medicate to either relieve physical pain or emotional distress. Another intention for simultaneous drug use at once is to mitigate the withdrawal symptoms or prolong the side effects of another drug.

Immediate and Chronic Physical Effects

The immediate and long-term effects of polydrug abuse vary depending on several factors, including:

  • The types of drugs used
  • The dosage
  • Duration of use
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Health status

For individuals who regularly mix substances, the side effects may not be as severe as someone who is doing it for the first time. Mixing drugs increases intoxication, resulting in unpredictable symptoms, dangerous drug interactions, and potential overdose. Taking multiple stimulant drugs (MDMA, cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines)  can result in rapid breathing, high body temperature, and seizures. Mixing depressants (benzodiazepines, heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone) can cause weak pulse, suppressed breathing, and cognitive impairments.

woman struggling with polydrug addiction and mental health repercussions

Cognitive Decline and Polydrug Addiction

When mixing two different types of drugs or two of the same class, it’s essential to be aware of the profound effects on mental health and the brain over time. Polydrug addiction can lead to several deficits in attention, memory, and executive cognitive function. The neurotoxic effects of these substances can negatively affect brain regions responsible for decision-making, processing, and learning.

Certain drugs alter the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, including norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Polydrug abuse and addiction can permanently affect brain chemistry and function, leading to structural changes in the brain. This maladaptive neuroplasticity plays a vital role in the development of physical and psychological drug dependence, which can lead to addiction.

Mental Health Complications

Substance use disorders (SUDs) often cooccur with mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. For individuals with pre-existing mental health issues, polydrug abuse can exacerbate symptoms and counteract medications. Many people with mental illnesses engage in alcohol or drug use to cope with emotional distress and pain, further worsening their symptoms.

Polysubstance abuse can also facilitate the addition of new mental health disorders, such as psychosis, severe anxiety, or suicidal depression. Individuals who grapple with a drug or alcohol addiction experience severe emotional instability, such as severe mood swings and unpredictable emotional responses.

Social and Familial Impacts

Dealing with polydrug addiction not only affects the user but also their family and community. Drug abuse significantly strains interpersonal relationships and affects work performance and attendance, often leading to job loss. The crime and legal consequences associated with drug-seeking behaviors can substantially alter someone’s present and future.

Diagnosing and Treating Polysubstance Use Disorder (PUD)

Treating polydrug addiction or polysubstance use disorder (PUD) requires a multifaceted approach that simultaneously addresses multiple drug addictions. The drug detoxification process for polydrug addiction may require more comprehensive services and medication management. Holistic addiction treatment integrates a combination of psychotherapy, medication, addiction treatment, and support services to address the psychological and physiological aspects of addiction.

drug detox for polydrug addiction, rehab treatment for polysubstance use disorder

Drug Detox and Rehab Treatment for Polydrug Abuse and Addiction

Approximately 11.3% of individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) have concurrent alcohol and illicit drug use disorders. Understanding the challenges of addiction and polysubstance abuse aids in adopting prevention strategies and seeking out necessary treatment. Polydrug abuse affects more individuals than accounted for and can quickly develop into drug dependence and addiction.

For South Florida drug detox and rehab treatment in Stuart, FL, contact us today. Our integrative drug rehab programs combine addiction treatment and psychotherapies to address polysubstance abuse and addiction in South Florida.