- Article SummaryPrint
- Recreational drug mixing
- Mixing alcohol and drugs recreationally
- Accidentally mixing alcohol and prescription drugs
- The effects of mixing drugs
- The dangers of mixing drugs
- The dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol
- Drug and alcohol addiction combined
- Treatment after mixing drugs
- Detoxification after mixing drugs
- Residential treatment for multiple addictions
- Therapy for multiple drug addictions
- Recovery from multiple addictions
abuse of drugs can cause problems on its own, a user who starts mixing drugs may end up in an even more dangerous situation. In many cases, people mix drugs on purpose to increase the high or to provide a different effect than that caused by a single drug on its own.
Other people mix drugs accidentally or inadvertently by taking more than one prescription medication at once, taking an illicit substance while already on a prescription medication, or drinking alcohol while another drug is still in the system.Drug users who mix drugs may require more in-depth addiction treatment than individuals who use only one substance.
If you or someone you know is mixing drugs, call 1-888-287-0471 toll-free 24/7 for more information on how to successfully break free of multiple substances at once.
Recreational drug mixing
While the recreational drug mixing is common among social drug users. Many people who use illicit substances, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamines, or ecstasy, switch between drugs during a single session of drug use. In some cases, the goal of mixing drugs is to create a more intense high. Sometimes the drugs are mixed before being used. One example of this is when heroin and cocaine is combined into a blended drug called speedball, which can be injected into a user's vein. Other recreational drug users take specific drugs in a specific sequence in order to ease the comedown off the first drug. For example, some users take marijuana to ease the comedown off cocaine or ecstasy. In some cases, the user does not plan for a specific effect, but instead simply takes all of the drugs offered at a party or social event without contemplating how the drugs might interact. Mixing drugs in this fashion can lead to unintended consequences, including severe side effects or an increased risk of overdose.
Mixing alcohol and drugs recreationally
"...medical care for overdoses cost a total of $15.5 billion in 2008, and half of these overdoses involved alcohol overconsumption."
In addition to combining illicit drugs, many users drink alcohol while also taking other drugs. The recreational mixing of alcohol and drugs has increased dramatically over the past decades, which has led to an increase in health complications that stem from this kind of combined substance use.
According to the National Institutes of Health, hospitalization for combined alcohol and drug overdoses increased by 76 percent for people between the ages of 18 and 24 between the years 1999 and 2008. Mixing drugs and alcohol often occurs because many people do not consider alcohol to be dangerous. Individuals frequently consume alcohol while on other drugs without considering the potential combined effects and dangers. If you need help breaking the cycle of combined drug and alcohol use, contact us at 1-888-287-0471 or fill out our short contact form for more information on potential treatment options.
According to the National Institutes of Health, medical care for overdoses cost a total of $15.5 billion in 2008, and half of these overdoses involved alcohol overconsumption.
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Accidentally mixing alcohol and prescription drugs
In addition to purposefully mixing drugs and alcohol for recreational use, mixing alcohol and prescription drugs can also occur accidentally. This may happen if the individual is taking prescription medication and drinks alcohol while the drug is still in his or her system. Someone who is dependent on alcohol is more prone to this type of behavior because alcoholism makes it difficult to restrain from consuming alcohol during the entire course of medical treatment with prescription drugs. If you feel like you cannot control your alcohol use while on prescription medication, call 1-888-287-0471 to talk to a treatment advisor about potential treatment options that can help you get your alcohol use under control.
The effects of mixing drugs
"The effects of mixing drugs may differ depending on the specific drugs being combined."
The effects of mixing drugs may differ depending on the specific drugs being combined. When two drugs with sedative effects are combined, such as alcohol and marijuana, the effect is typically an increased feeling of relaxation and drowsiness.
Drugs that both have a stimulant effect, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, can lead to an increase in restlessness, agitation, and energy. Mixing drugs that have opposite effects can cause a modulation of both effects or it can create an entirely new effect that neither individual drug produces on its own.
The dangers of mixing drugs
Mixing drugs can be dangerous in both the short and long term. In the short term, combining drugs can increase the risk of an overdose from one or both substances. Two depressive substances can combine to raise the risk of a coma or respiratory arrest caused by slowed breathing. Two stimulants can combine to raise the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or seizure. Taking drugs with contradictory effects at the same time may increase or reduce the chances of a dangerous reaction. However, the specific bodily response to most drug combinations remains unstudied, so it can be difficult to predict the precise effect you may experience if you take multiple substances at once. If you have experienced negative effects as the result of mixing drugs, contact us at 1-888-287-0471 for information about how to stop using drugs alone or together.
The dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol
Because of the ease of access to alcohol and the prevalence of alcohol addiction, the mixing of drugs and alcohol deserves special attention. In particular, the use of alcohol in conjunction with commonly used narcotic pain relievers can be deadly. Using alcohol along with opiates such as oxycodone, codeine, or morphine can lead to severe side effects that include:
- Slowed breathing
- Loss of motor control
- Memory problems
- Increased risk of overdose
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Prescription narcotics are not the only kinds of medication that can be a danger when combined with alcohol. Other drugs that require abstaining from alcohol while you are on them include prescription sleep aids, antidepressants, and blood pressure medication. Even over the counter medication can cause serious problems when combined with alcohol use. For example, the combination of alcohol and acetaminophen can cause an increased risk of stomach bleeding and liver damage.
Another danger of combining drugs and alcohol is the possibility of reduced awareness and a reduced ability to function effectively. If you drive, operate machinery, or engage in normal household activities, such as descending the stairs, there could be an increased risk of accident or injury. Mixing drugs and alcohol should be avoided completely, no matter which drug you are taking. If you find yourself unable to avoid mixing drugs and alcohol, call 1-888-287-0471 for a free referral to a facility that can help.
In about 20 percent of poisonings that involve prescription opioid pain medications, alcohol use is a contributing factor, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Drug and alcohol addiction combined
Mixing drugs or combining drugs and alcohol raises the risk of becoming addicted to both substances. Also, once you are addicted, this increases the chances that you will use multiple drugs at once and put yourself at risk for dangerous complications. Signs of a developing or existing addiction include:
- Cravings for one or both of the substances
- Withdrawal symptoms when you are deprived of one or both of the substances
- Spending a lot of time thinking about the substances you use or how to get more of them
- Deteriorating relationships as a result of your substance use or abuse
- Loss of interest in school, work, family, or pleasurable activities
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone you care about, you may want to seek out more information about the various types of help available. You can call 1-888-287-0471 to discuss potential treatment options or fill out our contact form for more information.
Treatment after mixing drugs
Individuals who have become addicted to multiple drugs as a result of mixing drugs and those who commonly abuse multiple drugs at once need a treatment program that takes into account the specific characteristics of each addiction. Some addictions are physical, so detoxification is required. Other addictions are strictly psychological.
For psychological addictions, skipping detoxification and immediately beginning therapy to address the underlying causes behind the addiction may be more appropriate. In some cases, the drug user may need to detoxify from one drug but not from the other. This does not mean that the person does not need treatment for use of the other drug. Instead, the person is likely to need different forms of treatment that complement each other.
Detoxification after mixing drugs
If you have experimented with mixing drugs, you may need to undergo detoxification before starting a long-term treatment plan. Detoxification is when you stop using drugs and experience the withdrawal symptoms that occur after stopping those drugs. Because every drug has a different pattern of withdrawal, detoxification from multiple drugs at once can be uncomfortable or even dangerous. In some cases, you will need medical monitoring while you detoxify from all of the drugs you have been using. In other cases, the doctor in charge of your recovery may recommend detoxifying from one drug at a time in order to minimize withdrawal symptoms. There are medications that can help with withdrawal from certain types of drugs, including alcohol, so taking these medicines may be an option during the detoxification phase of treatment. Another option for detoxification is a slow weaning from the drug.
During the drug weaning process, a physician controls each dose to ensure that the recovering user is not taking more than he or she needs. This type of detoxification is commonly used for recovering from prescription opiate addictions because sudden withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable.
Residential treatment for multiple addictions
"...an inpatient residential treatment facility is often the preferred choice for recovery."
For people who have been mixing drugs, an inpatient residential treatment facility is often the preferred choice for recovery. Because treating multiple addictions can be extremely complex, outpatient treatment may not be sufficient to handle the many aspects of this type of treatment. During residential treatment for multiple drug addiction, the patient lives at the facility and can be monitored throughout the entire treatment process to ensure that treatment is going according to plan. A doctor or therapist will help the patient develop a personalized treatment plan and will meet with the patient regularly to assess his or her progress. This is necessary because each person with multiple drug addictions has a different pattern of drug use and abuse. To develop an appropriate plan, you will need to tell your doctor the specific drugs you have used in the past and how you have combined their use. To find the right residential treatment plan for you, give us a call at 1-888-287-0471 or fill out our contact form to have a treatment advisor contact you with more information.
Therapy for multiple drug addictions
Therapy is typically highly effective for treating drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. When the user has a history of mixing drugs, therapy must take into account all of the different forms of drug use. One difference between therapy for one drug addiction and therapy for multiple drug addictions is that therapy for mixed drug use should address drug-related cues that may be different for each substance. Therapy may involve individual counseling, group therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy, and there may be separate sessions to discuss each drug or combined sessions in which the overall combination of addictions is addressed. In situations of multiple addictions, counseling may be intensive, with one or more sessions per day while you are in residence at a treatment facility. The ultimate goals of therapy are to help you understand all of the underlying psychological issues that affected your drug use, including understanding your reasons for mixing drugs, and to teach you how to avoid using drugs singly or together in the future.
Recovery from multiple addictions
After treatment is completed, a recovering user may need long-term therapy or may choose to participate in one or more support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, in order to stay clean and sober. Relapses can occur when the recovering user returns to using either drug. In some cases, a relapse involves mixing drugs, but it can also involve taking just one drug. If a relapse does occur, the user may need to return to treatment.