All addictions are not created equal, and if someone is mixing substances, it’s important for treatment professionals to be aware when that person enters a program.
Individuals rarely arrive at a substance abuse treatment program with only one problem. They may be battling drug or alcohol addiction along with a mental health issue like depression, trauma or bipolar disorder. This type of co-occurring disorder is so common that approximately 9 out of 10 patients fit the criteria. Now, a new study by the government agency SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) shows that many people arrive at treatment facilities with multiple addictions as well.
National data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) for 2009 shows that 730,228 substance abuse treatment admissions (37.2 percent) reported abuse of alcohol and at least one other drug. From that group, 23.1 percent of all admissions reported the abuse of alcohol and one other drug, while 14.1 percent reported the abuse of alcohol and two other drugs.
If the individual is already seeking treatment, why is it important to distinguish between a single addiction and polysubstance abuse? It’s noteworthy because it offers insight into addiction and can also be a sign of even greater abuse. When alcohol is used with other drugs, it tends to be ingested in greater quantities than when used in their absence, the study’s research shows. Alcohol abuse alone is dangerous, but combining alcohol with other drugs adds new risks. For example, “Taking benzodiazepines concomitantly with alcohol increases the chances of benzodiazepine-involved death,” the study reports. And that’s just one interaction. There are as many different problems as there are substances.
Because of the dangerous interactions and issues they can create, it is important for treatment providers to identify patients who use alcohol with other drugs. It’s also important to understand the combinations used in order to treat the individual appropriately and educate them on this especially dangerous usage pattern.
Multiple Addiction Treatment at The Canyon
If you or someone you love needs treatment for multiple substance abuse and/or co-occurring mental health disorder, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.