What is Polysubstance Abuse?

Polysubstance abuse is the simultaneous use of two or more substances, including alcohol, drugs, and medications. People who engage in polysubstance abuse may use multiple substances to enhance a particular drug’s effects, reduce the adverse effects of another drug, or cope with unpleasant symptoms associated with drug withdrawal.

Polysubstance abuse can lead to complex and serious health consequences, including increased risk of overdose, greater toxicity, and more severe withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, it can be challenging to diagnose and treat, as the symptoms may be attributed to an individual substance rather than the combination of substances being used.

The treatment of polysubstance abuse often involves addressing all the substances being used and the underlying psychological and social factors behind the person’s substance use. This may include behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and support from family and community resources.

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