September 13, 2019
Dangers of polysubstance abuse
Addiction Substance Abuse
Substance abuse carries with it a number of health risks, both at a physical and psychological level. Yet when one ingests more than one controlled substance at the same time, there is consequently an even greater risk to their wellbeing. This can include a heightened likelihood for an overdose, as the combinations of certain mind–altering substances may cause less predictable responses. While it is true that certain factors, such as one’s age and overall health also play a role, polysubstance use is like gambling with one’s life with the stakes raised very high.
Risks associated with different combination of substances
Using substances by themselves results in adverse outcomes, however combining certain substances increases the risk by manifold. Given below are certain substance combinations that can prove to be quite harmful.
- Alcohol and cocaine: One combination that may bring about a unique set of health complications is alcohol and cocaine. When both mix together in the body, a new chemical is created. This is known as cocaethylene, which has properties similar to cocaine. Cocaethylene attacks one’s immune system and liver, as well as increases the instances of seizures. The odds of death are as it is exponentially increased even when one is using cocaine by itself as it effects the cardiovascular system exposing it to severe adverse effects.
- Alcohol and ecstasy: Alcohol and ecstasy combined also further warps individual health complications. For instance, both the drugs dehydrate the body. This in turn can lead to heatstroke if one is physically active during use. The user may also have impaired reasoning and may suffer kidney or liver damage, which could manifest as vomiting.
- Alcohol and methamphetamine: When alcohol is combined with methamphetamine, it presents the illusion that one may not be as drunk as they really are, due to the stimulating effects of both the substances. Loss of inhibitions, spiraling negative emotions, and severe organ damage may be the result of combining these two substances.
- Alcohol and benzodiazepines: If one chooses to drink alcohol and use benzodiazepines, the basic compound in antianxiety prescriptions, simultaneously, a number of grave side effects are possible. Symptoms such as memory loss, extreme agitation, confusion, and belligerence may manifest. If the abuser slips into unconsciousness, they are at a risk of going into a coma and possibly dying.
- Cocaine and opiates: Cocaine and opiates have been described as an atom bomb for the body’s internal systems. The two in combination — commonly referred to as speedball or power balling — lead to greatly increased damages to the cardiovascular system. One may mistake how many opiates they have actually taken, as the stimulants’ effects may be misleading. Cardiovascular dangers are also present when one mixes cocaine and ecstasy and organ damage is also elevated and more intense. Opiates in combination with benzodiazepines may cause a person to die in their sleep as both slow down breathing. Older users may metabolize benzodiazepines more slowly and may be more likely to overdose as a result. Several Hollywood stars like John Belushi, Chris Farley, Chris Kelly, River Phoenix, and more have succumbed to speedball use and have lost their lives consequently.
Recovering from polysubstance abuse
Those who are dealing with polysubstance use need to undergo an intense detox when they are in recovery. This process may be a bit more complicated if there is more than one substance involved. In a residential treatment program, a patient will be able to detox safely and also focus on their recovery. This can involve a greater examination of the patient understanding their reasoning behind abusing drugs and taking the risks involved in mixing them.
If you or someone you know is addicted to substances and is looking for detox treatment centers, get in touch with Invictus Health Group. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 or chat online with one of our experts to know more about our research-backed, customized alcohol and drug detox and rehab programs. Our specialized team of medical professionals can use their vast experience in customizing a treatment plan for you or a loved one. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.