Polysubstance Abuse Signs and Symptoms

Written by Chloe Nicosia

How to Identify Polysubstance Abuse Signs and Symptoms and Find Help

When most people think of drug dependency and addiction, they tend to associate just one primary type of substance being used. However, poly-drug use is more common than many people realize, with polysubstance abuse signs and symptoms often contradicting what most people think they’re looking for.

There are a number of possible poly-drug combinations to consider. As an example, a person might be abusing both opiate drugs, such as heroin and stimulant drugs such as cocaine. Someone else may prefer to combine alcohol with benzodiazepine drugs or marijuana. ¬†Others may become reliant on using different drugs to function throughout the day, such as taking ‘uppers’ to elevate mood, taking ‘downers’ to counteract the uppers, or combining alcohol with party drugs to try and make a party seem more exciting.

The difficulty people have when trying to look for specific signs of drug use in a loved one is the contradictory symptoms that can arise when using one or the other substance. Further challenges arise when considering the correct course of rehab treatment for poly-drug abuse.

Polysubstance Abuse Signs and Symptoms

The actual polysubstance abuse signs and symptoms a person might display can vary depending on the type of drugs being taken. However, some common signs of drug use to watch for include:

  • Changes in personality and behavior
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in activities, hobbies or pursuits that were once enjoyable
  • Decline in personal grooming and hygiene
  • Unexplained financial problems and lack of money
  • Lying or hiding drug use from others
  • Engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors (unprotected sex, driving while under the influence)
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating on normal daily tasks
  • Borrowing or stealing money to pay for drugs
  • Hanging out with new acquaintances associated with using
  • Sleeping much more or much less than normal

A person using one or more substances will begin to display some behavioral signs of drug use. However, there are some physical and psychological symptoms to take into consideration as well. Some other symptoms of drug abuse to watch for include:

  • Alternatively high or stoned
  • Bloodshot eyes, bloody noses, or unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Loss of control over the amount being taken
  • Repeated failed attempts to quit using
  • Developing tolerance to the substance, or needing to take higher doses to achieve the same effects

What To Do If You Notice Polysubstance Abuse Signs and Symptoms

If you notice your loved one displaying various polysubstance abuse signs and symptoms, it can be tempting to confront them about their behavior and use. However, even if you suspect symptoms of drug abuse are the cause of those changes, it’s always wise to seek professional advice about the best way to proceed.

Staging an intervention can be fraught with danger if the process is not conducted correctly. Likewise, confronting a person displaying obvious signs of drug use could result in unpredictable responses, including aggression or violence.

A simple phone call to Better Addiction Care can provide the information you need to make the right decision about how to proceed.

Treating Polysubstance Abuse

The primary difficulty professional rehab treatment centers face when treating a person struggling with poly-drug abuse is that each type of drug has a different effect on the brain. The treatments needed to help a person addicted to heroin will differ dramatically to the treatments used to help someone recovering from cocaine or alcohol addiction.

Addiction specialists in a rehab treatment facility will take into account the various polysubstance abuse signs and symptoms you’ve recognized. They will also conduct their own complete assessment of the person being treated, including a full medical check-up, verifying the type of drugs being used, the length of use and dosage being taken, and the severity of the addiction.

When everything has been taken into account, it’s possible to tailor the correct combination of treatments, medications and therapies needed to help your loved one begin the journey to recovery.