Treating Multiple Substance Abuse

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Understanding Multiple Substance Abuse

People mix different types of drugs and substances for different reasons. Multiple substance abuse is characterized by the fact that the person does not favor one drug over the other. If you would like further information on polysubstance abuse treatment, connect with Better Addiction Care today at (800) 429-7690.

Polysubstance Abuse

Polysubstance Abuse or multiple substance abuse, means that an individual does not have a drug of choice, but, abuses at least three different types of drugs without discrimination (with the exceptions of caffeine and nicotine). Within the last year, the polysubstance abuser must have exhibited at least three of the following symptoms (according to the DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders):

  • Inability to stop using when planned or using more drugs than planned (loss of control).
  • Unsuccessfully attempting to cease use.
  • Increased tolerance.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit.
  • Your life revolves around the purchase and the use of drugs, being high, and nursing the after-effects of drugs.
  • Your drug use interferes with work, school, family, and/or activities.
  • No attention is paid to the fact that the drugs are having a negative effect on the individual or that existing issues are becoming exacerbated by the drug use. Compulsivity, in itself, is a sign of addiction. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing, brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

Now, because an individual is addicted to three substances at one does not, in itself, make the person a polysubstance abuser. The distinguishing factor is whether or not the person is specifically addicted to one substance or not. One may, indeed, suffer from three separate addictions at once. However – that does not mean they are guilty of multiple substance abuse.

In addition to being addicted to at least three different substances, without a favorite one, the individual must show there has been some type of dysfunction in their life because of the substance abuse in order to qualify for a diagnosis of multiple substance abuse.

Polysubstance Abuse Symptoms

Have you found yourself trying to cut down or quit a certain substance but find it too uncomfortable? Have you tried to quit the withdrawal symptoms with another drug? Beware, for this behavior may result in being addicted to two substances rather than one. This is one of the polysubstance abuse symptoms. Other symptoms include:

  • At times, when people become intoxicated, they may take a number of other drugs just because they do not know what is actually going on.
  • Attempting to heighten the sensation of a drug by introducing another drug into one’s system. For example, when one takes ecstasy, they may smoke many cigarettes to amplify the feeling of the X (ecstasy) or drink alcoholic beverages, or snort cocaine.
  • Sometimes, people introduce a second drug into their system when trying to come off of another one. For example, after a long night of doing molly (ecstasy) one may need help falling asleep, so they take a Xanax or some other drug that will calm them down enough to sleep.
  • Taking other drugs if you cannot find the drug you were looking for. Something is better than nothing, after all.

Polysubstance Abuse Treatment

As with all other types of treatment, the first thing that will happen is a comprehensive assessment that will hopefully uncover all substances being abused. During this time, it is vital to be open and honest if you really want to get better. Remember that the folks at the treatment center are not going to turn you in to the police.

Once the assessment occurs, and the treatment plan is created, the individual will go through detox (if needed) and then rehabilitation. In rehab, the individual will become empowered through various therapy sessions (such as behavioral and group therapies). There is hope for a drug-free future. Contact Better Addiction Care today at 1-800-429-7690 and get the help you need searching for treatment facilities that will meet all your needs.

 

 

Sources:

https://comorbidity.edu.au/sites/default/files/Polydrug%20Use.pdf