Addiction can damage your health, finances, career, and relationships, as it impacts your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. One consequence of addiction is that it impairs your judgment, which can make you more likely to engage in risky and dangerous behavior. Addiction increases your chances of mixing different substances, which can lead to polysubstance abuse. But what is polysubstance abuse, and how does it differ from addiction?
Polysubstance abuse occurs when you use and abuse more than one psychoactive substance. You can develop an addiction to multiple substances at once, which can make your recovery more difficult. For adolescent addiction treatment options, contact Foothills at Red Oak at 866.300.5275.
What is Polysubstance Abuse?
With nearly 681,000 adolescents in America developing a substance abuse disorder or alcoholism in their lifetime, addiction is far from uncommon. So, what is polysubstance abuse? Polysubstance abuse develops when you abuse more than one addictive substance at the same time. You can abuse opiates and alcohol or any combination of psychoactive substances. To best understand what is polysubstance abuse, it’s important to remember that mixing multiple substances is very dangerous. The reason polysubstance abuse is risky is that psychoactive substances can cause fatal overdoses when mixed.
Some substances, like opiates and benzodiazepines, are central nervous system depressants. Other substances, like methamphetamine and cocaine, are central nervous system stimulants. Depressants cause relaxing and calming effects that slow down your heart rate and breathing, while stimulants cause energizing effects that speed up your heart rate and breathing.
When you are wondering what is polysubstance abuse, it’s important to understand that abusing multiple substances can increase the risk of addiction, overdose, and medical ailments. Mixing multiple substances can intensify the effects of intoxication, which can be immensely pleasurable but can result in severe consequences, such as memory loss, blackouts, and risky behaviors. When you mix substances to intensify your high, it can demonstrate that you have a substance abuse disorder.
Common symptoms of addiction include:
- Spending the majority of your time and money acquiring and using drugs and alcohol
- Needing to increase your use to continue experiencing the same pleasurable effects
- Missing school or work because of your substance use
- Experiencing legal problems because of your substance use
- Concealing your substance use
- Difficulty controlling or stopping your substance use
How Polysubstance Abuse and Addiction are Treated
When you develop a polysubstance abuse disorder or an addiction, early treatment is essential. Addiction is a complex and progressive disease that alters your brain chemistry and impacts your logical reasoning centers. Your brain can become dependent on drugs and alcohol to release neurotransmitters and associates your substance of choice and everything that reminds you of it with pleasure.
This causes you to experience intense cravings when you are exposed to triggers, which can be people, places, or things that remind you of drugs and alcohol. Triggers and cravings can occur long after your last use, which is why completing treatment is an important aspect of your recovery. Learning how to identify and cope with your triggers helps you manage your sobriety.
Substance abuse treatment provides access to both evidence-based and holistic therapies that provide you with the support, tools, and guidance necessary to manage your symptoms. Our therapeutic treatment programs include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Equine-assisted therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Family therapy
Since addiction is incurable, you must learn how to cope with your symptoms throughout your lifetime to maintain your sobriety and abstinence. While negative emotions, like stress and anxiety, serve as powerful triggers during recovery, substance abuse treatment programs teach you how to implement healthy coping strategies to ensure you can achieve lasting recovery.
Reaching Out for Help
If you struggle with controlling your drug and/or alcohol use, or find yourself asking what is polysubstance abuse, it can be a sign that you need help. Understanding that you have an addiction can be difficult, but regardless of the severity of your addiction, recovery is always possible. Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today at 866.300.5275 to discuss our programs and your treatment options.