Woman thinking about her poly addiction

Poly-Addiction and the Problem of Switching Addictions

People often develop an addiction to more than one substance. This is called poly-addiction or polysubstance addiction. Some of the most common combinations are alcohol and drugs, such as benzodiazepines or opiates. When a person is addicted to multiple substances, it’s more difficult to stop using them because they create a powerful effect on the brain. In addition, people with polysubstance addictions often have additional mental health issues that need to be addressed in the course of polysubstance addiction treatment.

Why Does Polysubstance Addiction Happen?

There are a few reasons why people develop polysubstance addictions. One reason is that the person may have been using one substance to cope with the effects of another, or they may be using multiple substances in order to get a stronger effect.

Other times, it’s a way of trying to escape from an issue or situation. People with polysubstance addictions may have also experienced trauma or other life challenges that led them to turn to substances for relief.

What Are the Risks of Polysubstance Addiction?

The risks associated with polysubstance addiction are increased due to the fact that many drugs interact in dangerous ways, and can cause serious physical and mental health problems. Some of the risks include increased tolerance levels, greater risk of overdose, and long-term damage to internal organs such as the liver, heart, and kidneys. In addition, polysubstance addiction can lead to depression, anxiety, cognitive impairments, memory loss, and difficulty functioning in daily life.

From Substance to Process

Another very common occurrence of poly-addiction or switching of addictions that people are only beginning to become aware of is unfortunately all too common in the recovery communities of treatment centers and 12-Step programs for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. When people are in recovery together for substance addictions and they begin to build community together, sex, love, and relationship addictions many times take the place of substance abuse behaviors.

People are often unaware of the dangers of sex and relationship addiction. Therefore, these behaviors are not seen as a part of what is considered in the recovery lexicon to be “dry drunk” behavior, or a type of acting out on addiction without the use of previously preferred substances.

Addressing the Source

It is unfortunately true that those people who suffer from any singular addiction to a painful enough degree, often simply and matter-of-factly suffer from the problem of addiction, not just a problem of a particular substance. The problem of addiction, of course, is a problem of something deeper still. It’s this root problem which the recovering individual must determine and reconcile.

The repeated switching of addictions is an unconscious way to avoid coming to terms with the pain which is at the root of one’s addiction. In fact, this switching will likely continue until the addicted individual is prepared to do the work of this reconciliation. This might include:

  • Dealing with a traumatic childhood
  • The loss of a perceived identity
  • Reconciliation of unconscious feelings of shame

At the end of the day, there’s only one way out of the downward spiral that poly addiction causes—treatment. Without it, the chances of recovery become significantly more challenging.

The Need For Poly Addiction Treatment

Polysubstance drug addiction treatment from Promises Behavioral Health is an individualized, comprehensive approach to help clients achieve long-term recovery from substance use disorders. Our program addresses all components of addiction—including physical, psychological, and social/interpersonal issues—in a supportive environment that promotes healing.

We develop personalized plans with evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches to help clients develop healthier ways of living. Our experienced team understands how difficult it can be to recover from a polysubstance use disorder. Therefore, we work with our clients every step of the way to ensure they have the tools and resources necessary for lasting recovery. We also provide family support and education to ensure relationships remain healthy throughout the recovery process.

Therapies Used in Poly Addiction Treatment

At Promises Behavioral Health, we use a variety of evidence-based therapies to treat polysubstance addiction. Some of these include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This therapy focuses on identifying and changing unhealthy thinking patterns to promote healthier behavior.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – DBT focuses on helping clients identify triggers for substance use and develop new coping skills.
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI) – MI helps clients reflect on their goals and explore internal motivations for recovery.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – ACT helps clients learn to accept difficult emotions without engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

We also offer holistic therapies, such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, music therapy, and nutrition counseling to help clients build a stronger foundation for lasting recovery.

Get the Help You Need Today With Promises Behavioral Health

We offer evidence-based therapies, compassionate care, and a comprehensive approach to polysubstance addiction treatment. Moreover, we are here to help you reclaim your life. Contact us today at 844.875.5609 to learn more.

Scroll to Top