What Is Polysubstance Abuse?

What Is Polysubstance Abuse and What Are the Symptoms?

What is polysubstance abuse? From the encyclopedia of mental disorders we learn that polysubstance abuse refers to an individual’s use of “at least three different classes of substances indiscriminately.” The individual doesn’t prefer the use of any particular drug on its own. There is not a lot of information available documenting a cause for polysubstance abuse. It is known, however, that an individual receiving this diagnosis does not meet the criteria for dependence on a single drug but does when three drug classes are taken as a group.

What is dual diagnosis treatment? Do you or a loved one need it? Click here to learn more.

What Is Polysubstance Abuse?

What is polysubstance abuse? The addiction in this instance is to the experience of being intoxicated and mentally altered. There may be no dependence symptoms relating to a single drug because more than one is taken at the same time and can include a combination of illicit and prescription drugs. Polysubstance users are looking for an enhanced high from the group of drugs they take, but the combination also increases the negative effects of each drug making them more dangerous than when used singly. The unpredictable consequences of mixing drugs can result in a life-altering outcome. What is polysubstance abuse? The non-medical, but still life-altering, consequences that can occur when abusing multiple substances are generally legal ones. The illegal misuses of prescription medication include the following:

  • Using a prescribed medication that is no longer valid
  • Using a prescribed medication in a way other than indication
  • Using a prescribed medication belonging to another person
  • Selling or sharing prescribed medications with others

Any of these illegal actions can result in fines and jail time. If a person shares or sells a medication that results in someone’s death, they can be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Polysubstance Use Disorder

There are inherit dangers associated with polysubstance use disorder. Although specific effects and symptoms will occur depending on the substances combined, there are some dangers that are general to polysubstance abuse including the following:

  • An increased severity of the side effects such as nausea, vomiting, balance problems, pain in joints and muscles, heart rate changes, increase or decrease in respiration rate, and changes in blood pressure.
  • An increase in the onset of acute health issues such as hepatitis C, infections, myocardial infarction, and other cardiac issues.
  • An increased risk of overdose is present when multiple substances are at play. Some substances hide the effects of others, and the user may take a higher dose to achieve a certain effect resulting in an overdose. Life-altering health issues can occur as a result of overdose, and death is a strong possibility.
  • Treating overdose patients who have used multiple substances is complicated and difficult. Naloxone can often reverse opioid overdose. When other substances are in use, such as stimulants, benzodiazepines, or alcohol, it may not be effective. It will require specialized treatment to achieve recovery and avoid an overdose death.
  • Individuals with a co-occurring disorder are at greater risk of engaging in polysubstance abuse. When mental health issues are included in the equation, it’s important to note their symptoms can be amplified during an episode of polysubstance use disorder.

Treatment for Polysubstance Abuse

Treatment for polysubstance abuse is critical for anyone suffering from this diagnosis. If you or someone you care about needs treatment, contact WhiteSands Treatment Centers at (877) 855-3470. WhiteSands has inpatient locations in Tampa and Fort Myers FL. Their staff includes board certified doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, and addiction specialists. The facilities are modern, attractive, and provide both traditional and alternative therapies. The focus is on superior care in a relaxing resort-style setting. Every staff member’s goal is help patients achieve recovery that results in a successful and productive life.

Don’t wait another day to get help for yourself or a loved one suffering with the dangerous addiction to polysubstance abuse. Call (877) 855-3470 and speak with an addiction specialist.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.