What is Polysubstance Abuse?

Often when we think of substance abuse, we assume that we are dealing with a singular aspect of the whole experience. Treatment is not a one size fits all and that also goes for your substance of choice. polysubstance abuse may go unrecognized at first, but knowing what this means in terms of your treatment may help make all the difference.

What is Polysubstance Abuse?

When an individual abuses more than one substance at a time, this is what we are referring to. This does not mean that someone has a drink and may take a pill later on but rather the mixing of multiple substances at the same time. This is typically done with the goal of achieving a stronger high. Individuals who take more than one drug may achieve the feeling they are seeking but also amplify the negative effects that come along with them.

Why Multiple Drugs?

While typically there is a dependency on a drug to fulfill the physical and emotional aspects of the addiction, polysubstance abuse focuses more on the mood altering abilities of using multiple substances. Those who also deal with co-occurring disorders are also more susceptible to this type of addiction as they are dealing with other mental health issues. Once someone becomes used to the effects of a drug, they may look for a way to get back that initial high.

Complications Due to Mixing Substances

Combining drugs not only can increase negative side effects for the user on a personal level, it also makes it more difficult to treat medically. While overdoses can typically be treated with a single medication, those who seek emergency help for the consumption of more than one drug may find themselves in more of a bind. The first aid responder will need to know exactly what is in your system to successfully treat you. This also goes for the treatment of the inflicted person’s recovery in rehab. Polysubstance Abuse requires more specialized treatment and can take longer for the individual to achieve sobriety.

Understanding what role polysubstance abuse plays in your recovery can make all the difference in your treatment. Remaining open and honest with yourself and any healthcare professionals is the quickest way to ensure that you can reach your full potential and remain on the road to recovery.


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