Drinking can be fun in moderation and as a social activity. However, for some people, drinking alcohol can be dangerous. Many people take prescription medicine of some kind, and quite a few prescription drugs do not mix well with alcohol. Sometimes, people intentionally mix prescription drugs with alcohol to enhance their level of intoxication. This is also potentially quite dangerous. Mixing drugs and alcohol, also known as ‘polysubstance abuse,’ can lead to dire consequences and even death. Luckily, programs specializing in polysubstance abuse treatment are available to help those struggling to quit alcohol and drugs.
What Is Polysubstance Abuse?
The term ‘polysubstance abuse’ usually refers to deliberately taking more than one drug at a time or mixing drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, polysubstance abuse can also be unintentional. Unintentional polysubstance abuse happens when a person takes drugs or drinks alcohol that has been adulterated with another substance without their knowledge. This can occur as a result of drugs that have been ‘cut’ or intentionally mixed for the purpose of making them more profitable for the seller.
What Can Happen When Drugs and Alcohol Are Mixed?
Most people know what the effects of drinking alcohol are – dizziness, confusion, lack of coordination, and impaired judgment, to name a few. Many drugs have similar side effects, so when mixed with alcohol, the effects intensify. Mixing drugs and alcohol can turn a risky situation into a potentially harmful or even fatal situation. Some of the potential dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol are:
- Opioids – mixing opioids with alcohol can cause a person’s heart rate and breathing to slow to a dangerous rate
- Stimulants – taking stimulants along with alcohol greatly increases the risk of alcohol poisoning because stimulants mask the effects of alcohol, making the person feel less intoxicated than they really are
- Benzodiazepines – Taking benzodiazepines and drinking alcohol can lead to a very significant level of intoxication, placing the user at risk of poor judgment, accident, or even overdose
- Generally – In the case that a person is injured or falls ill while mixing drugs and alcohol, doctors may have a hard time stabilizing them because of the unpredictable effects that can happen when both substances are present in the body
Can Polysubstance Abuse Treatment Make a Difference?
For those who have developed an addiction to more than one substance or who regularly use alcohol and prescription drugs together, seeking professional treatment is a wise choice. As mentioned before, the presence of both alcohol and drugs in the system at the same time can lead to medically unpredictable situations. For this reason, people attempting to stop using drugs and drinking should be monitored by professional caregivers with knowledge of polysubstance abuse treatment.
Another reason that professional treatment is a good idea is that abuse of prescription drugs often starts with a legitimate mental or physical health condition. These issues must be treated safely and appropriately, rather than the client being left to self-medicate. This is something with which a polysubstance abuse treatment program can help. Clients will also be able to receive support from staff and peers who understand what they are going through, which is essential when entering recovery.
Greater Boston Recovery Center Can Help With Polysubstance Abuse
At our treatment center, clients begin their healing journey in a caring, recovery-supportive environment. We combine individualized treatment plans with best clinical practices and proven therapies to help our clients achieve and maintain a lasting recovery. Do not wait to get help; if you or someone you care about has been struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol, reach out to our staff today at 877.920.6583.