Without planning it, you may have fallen into a dangerous pattern. You get home from work depressed. You smoke a little weed and have a couple of drinks. Harmless, right? Wrong. When you regularly take two or more drugs together (polysubstance abuse) — and yes, alcohol counts as a drug — you are fostering a psychological dependence. Worse, you are also taking some very serious risks to your health and your life.
Psychological Dependence and Polysubstance Abuse
You may use multiple substances for a variety of reasons. For instance, alcohol and marijuana are both depressants. Taking them together increases their effects. Furthermore, marijuana inhibits vomiting, so if you drink enough to cause alcohol poisoning, you may not be able to clear the alcohol out of your system by throwing up.
Opiates and cocaine have opposite effects. Opiates are depressants and cocaine is a stimulant. Taking them together is one way that people use to control the high. For instance, if you took too much cocaine and were getting too jittery, you could take some opiates to calm down a little.
These habits can lead to psychological dependence. You get used to manipulating the different substances and it becomes part of your routine; however, polysubstance abuse is dangerous. If you have a polysubstance abuse issue, you need addiction therapy.
If you drink and take cocaine, for instance, the drugs combine in your system to form a substance called cocaethylene which can cause liver damage, seizures, harm to the immune system, and increase in violent behavior and a higher risk of suicide.
People refer to taking opiates and cocaine together as taking a speedball. Combining depressants and stimulants is stressful on the cardiovascular system. It’s the equivalent of hitting the brakes and the accelerator on a car at the same time. Because the effects of the two drugs counteract each other, it is easy to overdose on one or both of them.
Polysubstance Abuse and Prescription Drugs
If you have trouble with anxiety and falling asleep, your doctor may prescribe benzodiazepines such as Valium or Xanax. Many people also keep prescription pain medication around the house. Add these ingredients with a few drinks of alcohol, and you’ve got three powerful depressants in your system. They may cause you to fall asleep or blackout, and while you have altered mental status, you may even stop breathing — permanently.
Treatment of Psychological Dependence
Polysubstance abuse can lead to both psychological dependence and physical dependence, but you don’t have to let addiction control your life. With Melrose Recovery Group, you’ll take part in the following addiction therapy services:
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Physical fitness therapy
- Nutrition therapy
- Tim Storey Dream Academy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
Polysubstance abuse can be dangerous, and it can be a challenge to overcome, but you can get your life back on track. Call Melrose Recovery Group at 866-271-3438 today for information on rehab admissions.