What’s your poison?
Chemical dependence is when your brain and body don’t feel “well,” without certain chemicals in your system. Addiction is when these chemical dependencies begin to have negative consequences on your life, from injuries and blacking out, to strains on finances, family, work, or other aspects of your life. Many develop addictions to a variety of substances, and simply don’t recognize it until it’s pervasive through their daily life.
Polysubstance Dependency – Our Own Mood Cocktails
Many of us rely on a cocktail of substances, products, and manufactured experiences to maintain a sense of well-being. It’s become a simple ritual that snuck its way into becoming our daily life: a morning coffee, a few cigarettes timed throughout the day, alcohol, marijuana, and TV throughout the evening, and an occasional Amazon shopping spree to cope without anxiety or stress. We hardly seek out new and meaningful experiences, but rather rely on simple, easy, repetitive comforts. We are no longer in pursuit of the great exploration of life, but rather obsessed with using substances to keep ourselves feeling “content” and “normal.” Through this lifestyle, polysubstance addictions can become a habit without us even noticing.
Detecting a Polysubstance Addiction
Polysubstance addiction can be tricky to diagnose, and challenging to overcome. Most people are aware that using illicit drugs like heroin can be dangerous, but they might not realize that regularly smoking a joint “to fall asleep” can be another sign of addiction and dependence. Likewise, they may realize that they need help after a DUI with alcohol, but don’t consider that their drinking and nicotine addiction may be rooted in the same internal causes and conflicts. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and other illnesses are often tied with polysubstance addictions because addiction is a coping mechanism for other negative life factors. Healing through these addictions often means diagnosing the underlying trauma and buildings the skills and network you need to cope.
Risks of Addiction to Multiple Substances
Because polysubstance addiction often deals with drugs with similar side-effects, it can be a particularly dangerous situation. A common means of accidental overdose happens when two depressant or “downer” drugs, or two stimulants are combined. Depressants can lower blood pressure, breathing, and other body functions, leading to death by suffocation or heart failure. Combining depressants can exponentially increase this risk, especially with street drugs where the quantity of active ingredients isn’t clearly labeled. Likewise, double-doses of stimulants have the opposite effect, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Treating these addictions means understanding the risks and side-effects of these drugs, and being able to counter the withdrawal symptoms that come with detox.
Trained facilities like our San Diego rehab and detox can provide proven medication, therapy, and guidance to ease the detox symptoms and prepare you to resist cravings and avoid relapse. Relapse is a pivotal concern in the recovery of polysubstance abuse. Cutting down on a substance without learning techniques to maintain that sobriety has a low rate of success. However, detoxing flushes the chemical dependencies out of your body, and with it, the tolerances. Someone using a strong opiate at a full dose for years, and suddenly going sober, can risk overdose if they relapse because their body is no longer prepared for such a heavy dose of the chemical. This is a vital reason why we always recommend professional detox and rehab, to help monitor your health, teach you coping techniques, and warn you about the expectations of a life free from addiction. If you or someone you know is seeking a sober life, please call us directly at (619) 639-7325.