Polysubstance abuse is a common term used for consumption of more than one kind of drug for a long period, roughly estimated as one year. It can be taken for medical or recreational purposes simultaneously or at different period of times. Polysubstance abuse it is generally meant as the use of multiple illicit drugs but it can also apply for prescription drugs consumed for medical issues. We recommend learning more about polydrug use from Crownview Co-Occurring Institute.
In some cases people use different kinds of drugs and mix them to get a better high or heavier impact. Polysubstance abuse and the terms related to it came into popularity when a man named Robert Chambers were on tried for substance abuse. He used ten to twelve bags of heroin, crack and was illegally using a painkiller named Dillaudid. In 2013 a large scale survey was conducted regarding this topic. This was conducted mostly on the US, UK, Australia and the South American countries. Among teens, Polysubstance abuse was quite controlled but still common. Teens aging between 12-17 had a rate of 18% of using such drugs and the rate was twice as high up to 34% in teens who were much younger . Unfortunately this substance abuse is mostly seen in patients seeking treatment and among people who engage in high risk sexual encounters such as homosexuals, HIV patients. Adults who are mostly prescribed to drugs which are for long term and use also subscribed to multiple medications can also be victims of polysubstance abuse. An estimated 19% of adult Americans were using alcohol mixed with improper medications and misusing them.
In 2000, a study on over 200 thousands of drug abusers, who were admitted to rehabilitation centers, showed that around 42% of them were using Heroin as the main drug. The drug usage is shown below:
- Alcohol/Booze: 23.3 percent
- Crack: 22.2 percent
- Marijuana/Cannabis: 12.1 percent
- Cocaine: 12.1 percent
- Opiates: 4.3 percent
- Diazepam: 3.0 percent
- Amphetamine: 2.8 percent
People abusing multiple drugs seem to have increased amount of psychologically distressing experience and show symptoms of depression and anxiety. They also show signs of self harm. People hooked on alcohol also show more severe psychological distress. In a generalized view they have more depressive disorders and such sorts of other mental and psychological issues. Paranoia and other psychotic issues are also common in people who abuse different sort of hard drugs.
Countering drug abuse can be very tough, mostly when it comes to polysubstance abuse. It is hard to fight against the withdrawal symptoms and the primary reactions in such cases. Detoxing and handling it gets hard because a lot of primary tests and researches are needed just to determine which0 drugs were abused and the resulting effects on the patient. Treatments have to be immediately done as failure in reacting fast and effectively might even result in severe consequences which include depression and anxiety lasting week. Even after these, we can all hope for the best because it gets better. It can be tough to get well but it does get better.