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Mixing drugs can be dangerous to health

When the effects of drug addiction start showing up, the sufferer no longer cares for the type of drug that he or she is taking or what impact they might have in the long run. Such people do not even shy away from using deadly combinations of drugs to achieve the desired high. Studies have shown that a mixing two or more drugs, be it over-the-counter (OTC) prescription or recreational drugs, can increase the risk of side effects, including overdose and death.

When used in combination, each drug intensifies the effect of the other, thereby leading to a significant deterioration in one’s physical and mental health. It is not just the brain that gets rewired as a result of long-term polydrug abuse, even other parts of the body are equally affected by this deadly combination. Some of the physiological effects include brain damage that promotes dependency on substances, liver damage, chronic heart problems, respiratory failure and seizures.

Some of the popular combination drugs and their dangers

While all kinds of drugs have the tendency to significantly alter the brain circuit, opioids are more likely to cause overdose if used the wrong way. Even celebrities are not left untouched by this lethal habit of mixing drugs. Many of them, including Phillip Hoffman, Heath Ledger and Cory Monteith, lost their lives to the combined effects of drugs and alcohol addiction.

Some of the most dangerous drug combinations are:

  • Methamphetamine (P) and date rape drug (GHB): GHB, also known as “roofies”, is often used in combination with methamphetamine (P), which causes a psychological imbalance wherein the sufferer is both stimulated and depressed. The highly dangerous concoction increases the risk of irregular heartbeat and sudden blackouts.
  • Ecstasy and LSD: When used in combination, especially by teens during parties, both LSD and ecstasy produce unpredictable results.
  • Heroin and cocaine: Heroin, a depressant, and cocaine, a stimulant, are used in combination to mitigate the ill effects of each drug. In case there is an overdosing of heroin, a person can experience respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.
  • Marijuana and heroin: Marijuana might not be dangerous in itself but when used with heroin it can have harmful consequences. Marijuana, unless systemically delivered in clinical settings, contains a high amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which stimulates the brain to feel a sense of pleasure. Its combination with heroin causes symptoms such as perception disorientation, impairments to cognitive brain functions, increased heart rate, etc.
  • Amphetamines and tranquilizers: This is one of the most dangerous combinations of drugs. While tranquilizers produce a sense of calm in the person by facilitating a class of brain chemicals called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), common amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system (CNS). Their combined abuse is often fatal.

Road to recovery

The process of detoxification in case of combined drug use is a prolonged affair. It requires the removal of toxicity induced by both the substances from the system. The detox process in itself is cumbersome, estimated to take around 3-30 days. Also, while polydrug abuse can be successfully treated, it requires a holistic and an all-encompassing treatment plan that involves pharmacotherapy and behavioral counseling. As the withdrawal pangs are more acute in the case of a polydrug abuse, it is essential to seek the guidance of a doctor to ensure a smooth withdrawal.

The likelihood of a person using combined drugs lapsing back to addiction is quite high, therefore, it is important to incorporate evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), couple’s therapy, 12-step program, which not only suppress the cravings, but also help patients develop coping skills, post the detox.

If you or your loved one is battling addiction to any form of drug, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline to learn about the best drug addiction rehabilitation centers in the United States. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 to speak to our representatives or chat online, to know about various addiction treatment centers across different locations in the country.

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