While having anyone addiction is dangerous business in itself, having multiple addictions can amplify the level of danger tenfold. It makes sense, and it seems crazy that anyone would test their human limits like that, however, multiple addictions continue to pop up in treatment centers and in overdose death rates around the country.
Apart from the obvious physical addictions that would come with abusing a multitude of drugs, there are also deeper layers of mental disturbances that can arise from multiple addictions. According to recent surveys, there are a few most common combination of substances that people these days are abusing. They are:
- Alcohol and Benzodiazepines
- Opiates and Methamphetamine
- Stimulants and Alcohol
Obviously, each user is different and might favor a different combination, we will use the dangers associated with these combinations as they are currently the most common in the United States.
The Physical Dangers of Heroin and Meth
We are all well aware of the recent opioid epidemic and the skyrocketed overdose death rates that have been occurring both in the United States and in Canada and Europe. However, not many people have taken to discussing that opioids are much more dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol.
For example, opioids on their own, while yes, can be dangerous, generally only have the potential to kill when taken in large doses. However, many people have taken to mixing opioids with meth as of late, as it combines a high and a low that creates a very powerful effect for users. Or they alternate between going up with meth and coming down with opioids.
The reason why having multiple addictions to these drugs is so dangerous is because each drug can mask the effects of the other. In other words, a person may not notice how fast their heart is beating, or how slow their breathing is, because of the opposite effects that the other drug is portraying. Because of this masking effect, a person cannot determine if they have taken too much of either drug, which can result in heart failure, lung failure, and even stroke.
The Dangers of Stimulants and Alcohol
Similarly to the effects that opioids and methamphetamine have on a user, someone with multiple addictions to stimulant drugs and alcohol can experience a masking of the side effects of both drugs. Not to mention, people primarily take stimulants to counteract the debilitating effects of alcohol such as:
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Loss of motor functioning
- Blacking out
As many users can testify, a night out spent drinking can always be counteracted by cocaine, Adderall, meth, etc. However, since alcohol is a depressant and stimulants are, well, stimulants, the same effect can happen where a person can no longer tell if their physiological state is out of balance.
For example, a person who has been drinking heavily but also taking stimulants might feel as though they are okay to drive, as the stimulants have “leveled out” their drunkenness. However, these people often get involved in car accidents or get arrested for DUI because when they take a breathalyzer test, they BAC levels are through the roof, despite how “sober” they may have felt. This combination of multiple addictions most often leads to:
- Heart Attack
- Alcohol Poisoning
- Psychosis, Hallucinations, and Paranoia
People who mix alcohol and stimulants often end up experiencing violent behavior, fits of aggression, and increased depression.
The Dangers of Benzodiazepines and Alcohol
Over the last few decades, Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin have become some of the most widely prescribed medications on the market. Many people have started using these drugs, primarily Xanax, as a party drug, as they have an extremely powerful effect, and when combined with alcohol, create a very strong level of intoxication. SAMHSA released a survey showing that 95% of people who entered substance abuse treatment for benzodiazepine use also abused another drug.
However, not only are these drugs dangerous to mix with alcohol because they are sedatives but for people who have multiple addictions to this combination, will learn that the withdrawal process from both of these drugs can actually be fatal.
During use, the reason this combination can be so deadly is the double dose of sedatives in a person’s system. This overactive sedative effect can lead to:
- Blacking out
- Respiratory Failure
- Organ Failure
Again, both of these drugs, individually, can be deadly to detox from, resulting in potential shock, stroke, and coma. When combined, they result in an increasingly dangerous and life-threatening withdrawal process which requires medical detox.
The Mental Dangers of Multiple Addictions
Anyone who has struggled with an addiction can attest to the sheer amounts of mental deterioration, isolation, anguish, and torture that occur during an active addiction. For many addicts, the start of an addiction is usually preceded by years of unresolved trauma, fear, insecurity, or pressures.
This is why when someone turns to drugs or alcohol, they stick with the behavior because it helps to quiet the uncomfortability and pain that they are used to living with. When a person who finds themselves battling against multiple addictions, the drugs can intensify the initial mental state, or can create entirely new ones that make it difficult to stop using the only thing that makes them feel better, the high.
However, when it comes to getting clean and sober, the effects from prolonged struggle with multiple addictions can make the recovery process much more difficult. It has been shown to increase:
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Mood Swings
For anyone struggling with any addiction or multiple addictions of any kind, the process of trying to maintain physical and mental health can be an impossible task, however, recovery is possible.
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