Author: Александр Шуляк

Александр Шуляк

Координатор группы созависимых, психотерапевт
Александр Шуляк

What is polydrug use. How is this addiction treated?

Polydrug addiction is an addiction to several types of drugs. Their reception can be simultaneous or alternating. In this case, dependence is formed for each drug and a person cannot continue taking only one of them.

The destructive effect of drugs in this case is much stronger than in addiction to one of the psychoactive substances. The main blow falls on the human central nervous system and psychological state. In general, the following symptoms of polydrug use can be distinguished, which vary depending on the type of drug used:

  • aggressiveness;
  • lethargy;
  • a sharp decline in intellectual abilities;
  • chronic mental disorders;
  • antisocial behavior;
  • severe functional disorders of internal organs.

Other common symptoms of polydrug use include sleep disturbances, hallucinations, disturbances in the cardiovascular system, etc.

Reasons for the formation of polydrug use

There are the following main reasons why an addict starts taking several drugs:

  • Insufficient effect. After a certain period of time, the effect of the drug used decreases markedly due to the body’s tolerance. In search of the old feelings, the addict can start taking more powerful drugs, while not giving up the first.
  • Insomnia. Sleep disorders are one of the consequences of taking drugs. It can manifest itself in insomnia or restless sleep, which is accompanied by nightmares. This forces the addict to use sleeping pills, the most powerful of them. As a result, the addict becomes addicted to sleeping pills.
  • Drug unavailability. At certain times, drug addicts are faced with a situation when the psychoactive substance they are using becomes unavailable: due to lack of material resources or lack of it in places of distribution. The only way out in this case is to find an alternative.
  • Group drug use. Very often drug addicts use drugs in small groups. Here, new types of substances become available to them, which someone from the community members managed to get, which leads to the formation of a new addiction.

Polydrug addiction can develop in the early stages of addiction. During this period, the addict has not yet given preference to one or another type of drug and is trying to test the effect of each of them. Completely imperceptibly, a person can become addicted to a number of substances.

The most common types of polydependence are:

  • Addiction to opium and stimulants. Most often, addiction to cocaine or amphetamines is formed first. Over time, a person ceases to feel the uplift of mood and simply gets tired of his hyperactivity. Opium drugs help him relax and improve his mood.
  • Addiction to opium and hashish. Addiction to hashish usually develops initially. A person shows interest in opium substances because of the desire to experience new sensations. There is also the opposite situation, when hashish is used to increase the duration of opiate action.
  • Opium addiction combined with alcoholism. Generally, alcohol is used to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Even very large doses of alcohol are not able to completely block withdrawal symptoms, but thanks to it, pain in muscles and joints, and craving for opiates are somewhat reduced.

How polydrug abuse is treated

In contrast to mono-addiction, polydrug addiction is characterized by a wider range of withdrawal symptoms. In this case, they are difficult to predict, and they depend on the type of drugs and the duration of their use. The toxic effect on the body is also disproportionately greater. But, as we wrote at the beginning of the article, the greatest damage is done to the central nervous system.

The diagnosis of “polydrug addiction” can only be made by specialists, but even in this case it is not an easy task, due to the complex clinical picture of the disease. When examining patients, various changes in the body’s tolerance and atypical manifestations of euphoria are taken into account. Diagnostics includes examination by a narcologist and psychologist, various examination methods (ECG, ultrasound of internal organs), consultations of doctors of other specialties.

The course of treatment is a comprehensive program that is compiled individually and depends on:

  • gender;
  • age;
  • types of drugs used;
  • years of use;
  • the presence of concomitant diseases.

In general, the course of treatment consists of the following stages:

  • detoxification;
  • rehabilitation;
  • resocialization.

Cleansing the body is one of the necessary procedures that should precede rehabilitation. At this stage, the patient is prescribed medications that restore metabolism, normalize the mental state and functions of internal organs.

For the treatment of patients with polydrug use, a long course of rehabilitation (up to 6 months) will be required. In the rehabilitation center “Transformation” it is based on the “12 steps” method. This is a kind of psychotherapy program, the purpose of which is to restore a person’s mental health, his spiritual revival. This includes individual and group sessions with psychologists, activities aimed at developing a person’s creativity, sports training.

Resocialization or social adaptation is a controlled return of a patient to a familiar environment. At this stage, the addict needs comprehensive psychological support and advice to help him cope with stressful situations, learn to control his emotions.

In the future, such patients should be constantly in the area of ​​attention of specialists, which will help to avoid relapses. One of the ways to support former drug addicts in the “Transformation” drug addiction clinic are special camps, in which everyone can find those who understand their problems, meet interesting people who have managed to succeed in sports, show business, art.