What is Polysubstance Abuse?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

What is Polysubstance Abuse? A Brief Overview.

Are you wondering what the polysubstance definition is? Are you concerned that you (or someone you care for) are polysubstance abusers? Contact the professional and caring staff at Better Addiction Care today at (800) 429-7690. They can help you find drug treatment centers.  Addiction is a lonely disease that results in isolation, depression, and homelessness – among other things.

What is Polysubstance Abuse?

What is polysubstance abuse? Polysubstance abuse is a term used to describe a disorder where the individual indiscriminately uses and abuses at least three types of substances and does not have a favorite drug which qualifies for dependence by itself. There is not much documentation that explains the cause of this type of substance abuse. Individuals aged between eighteen and twenty-four have the highest rate of substance abuse for all substances.

According to the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) at least three of the following symptoms must occur during a twelve-month period (and cause stress or impairment) in order to meet the standard for substance dependence.

  • The individual uses drugs although the drug abuse has caused psychological and/or physical problems – or made the existing conditions worse.
  • The individual lets drug use interfere with their activities, job, school, and/or friendships.
  • The individual is overtaken by the drug abuse and spends much time sourcing drugs, getting high, being high, and recovering from the effects (like a hangover, for example).
  • The individual has attempted to quit using the substances to no avail, or has attempted to cut down without any success.
  • The individual has exhibited a loss of control when it comes to their drug use. For example, the individual only uses on the weekends and has now taken to using during the week as well.
  • The individual experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using (this is one of the reasons a detox center may be appropriate for some people – they can administer medications to help subdue the pain and intensity of withdrawal symptoms).
  • The individual is using more than they used to because their body has built a tolerance to the substances.

Polysubstance Abuse Treatment

Little is known regarding treatment for an individual suffering from polysubstance abuse. An individual may be admitted into the hospital and/or participate in cognitive therapy. Polysubstance abuse treatment includes a psychological evaluation and other tests.

What is polysubstance abuse? Aside from using at least three different kinds of drugs in a twelve-month period, they must not have a “drug of choice.” This person may not meet criteria for dependence on just one substance alone – but when you consider all three substances combined, they will meet criteria for polysubstance dependence.

Through intensive therapy and education, the individual should be able to develop life skills and coping strategies to manage any mental health issues they may be grappling with in addition to ending their addiction. Drug rehab would be helpful for these individuals.

In drug rehab, patients are removed from their usual surroundings. Rehab is offered, typically, in thirty-day, sixty-day, and ninety-day increments. In a rehab facility, patients can expect a comfortable and supportive atmosphere. Healthy meals are provided and different types of therapies are offered.

  • Family therapy: Support of family members is sometimes crucial in treatment. Addiction affects everyone in the family – not just the drug addict. During these sessions, counselors help facilitate healthy discussions among family members, and help them understand what the addict is going through.
  • Behavioral therapy: This is one of the most effective method used in treatment. This type of therapy will help change behaviors (addiction).
  • Group therapy: This type of therapy provides comradery among the residents in the rehab. During sessions, residents share stories and this is beneficial for everyone.
  • Other types of therapy may be utilized as well, depending upon which facility you choose. For example, art therapy and equine therapy.

If you still have questions regarding what is polysubstance abuse or what is the polysubstance definition, contact Better Addiction Care. Do not struggle in silence seek help finding treatment centers.