What is Polysubstance Abuse? Why is it Dangerous?

Learn about the dangers of polysubstance abuse, including potential side effects, symptoms, and treatment options.

Polysubstance Abuse

polysubstance use disorder
Polysubstance use involves the use or ingestion of two or more substances. At the same time, polysubstance abuse involves the irrational use of two or more illicit substances. With the introduction of these substances into the body, they may cause more harm due to the combined effects of each substance (polysubstance intoxication).

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Why Do People Abuse Multiple Drugs?

Polysubstance abuse can happen for various reasons. This is split between intentional use and unintentional use due to ignorance.

The intentional aspect of polysubstance abuse can be attributed to many factors, such as a deliberate overuse of an initial prescription by a medical professional. This intentional usage also covers substance-seeking behavior where individuals actively seek out and engage in substance use. 1

In contrast, the unintentional factor usually attributed to ignorance is the combination of multiple substances without adequate knowledge of the effects. An example is using two different prescriptions from different medical professionals.

Signs of Polysubstance Abuse

The use of different substances comes with their combinative functions; this combining power of substance use can influence an individual with time. Therefore, an individual may not be aware of personal polysubstance misuse or suspect it in another person. However, the following are indicative characteristics or signs of polysubstance abuse disorder.

The Notable Change in Personality or Behavior

A common polysubstance abuse symptom involves an apparent varying change in behavior. Polysubstance use disorder tends to affect an individual’s behavior, gradually changing their personality. They could be more aggressive or withdrawn depending on the multiple substance use disorder in question.

Losing Interest in Hobbies, Activities, and Friends

Polydrug addiction feels like a hobby for certain individuals with common substance chemical dependency. Therefore, there is an urge to engage in polysubstance misuse continually while ignoring other aspects of life.

Mood Swings or Irritability

Common poly abused drugs such as depressants and stimulants serve different functions in the body; while depressants slow down brain activity, stimulants work vice versa. Therefore, continual use could lead to mood swings. In addition, when introduced into the body, certain substances can increase irritability.

Increased Injuries or Health Issues

Polysubstance misuse or abuse often leads to health complications such as damage to vital organs like the liver and kidney, especially during polysubstance intoxication. When these organs are affected, it might be an indication or a sign of drug misuse. Polysubstance abuse disorder can also lead to self-harm or sustaining injuries under the influence of the drugs.

Going to Doctors Frequently for Prescriptions

The availability of certain substances is subject to their prescription by medical professionals. Therefore, individuals with polysubstance abuse may make frequent doctor visits for certain prescription drugs to get them. In addition, at times, they may visit several doctors to obtain more of the substance.

When individuals show one or more of these signs, there is a high tendency for polysubstance abuse.

Most Commonly Poly-Abused Drugs

There are different common poly-abused drugs based on price, preference, and acceptability. They include: 2

The different poly-abused drugs have varying short-term side effects and long-term effects on the body. It’s important to note that the more these poly abused drugs are used, the more the body and brain adapt to them, leading to possible dependence and addiction.

Why is Polysubstance Abuse Dangerous?

polysubstance abuse disorder 
The danger of polysubstance abuse is mainly attributed to the effect of the mixture or combination of different substances. The combination of similar substances could result in increased concentration and harmful potentiation of their impact; in contrast, the combination of unlike substances may be unknown. They could negatively impact the body. While in clinical settings, polysubstance abuse may lead to therapeutic failure of helpful medication. Other dangers include the following: 3

Cognitive and Physical Health Problems Due to Polysubstance Use

The health complications from polysubstance abuse disorder may manifest in various polysubstance abuse symptoms. These symptoms may be cognitive and physical. The physical health consequences may include: 4
The cognitive health issues may include the following:

Overcome Polysubstance Dependence at Stillwater Behavioral Health

At Stillwater Behavioral Health, we are licensed to provide solutions and preventive interventions to all forms of polysubstance dependence and polydrug addiction. This expert care is delivered by expertly trained professionals using a tailor-made approach designed for each individual depending on the polysubstance use in question.

Stillwater Behavioral Health Inpatient Center is located in Montecito. We provide a safe and serene environment where anyone can gradually overcome polysubstance abuse disorder, polysubstance intoxication, and dependence.