Polydrug abuse is treated in much the same way that singular substance use and addiction is handled. However, all of the individual’s commonly used substances must be taken into account, and treatment must reflect all of these issues in order for the individual to recover safely and effectively.
Different Drug Abuse Syndromes
A person must be treated all at once for any drug abuse or addiction syndromes they are currently struggling with. If a person who uses cocaine and heroin is only given help for their heroin abuse, they will still crave cocaine and be likely to return to it, an action that will interact with their heroin addiction treatment, continue to cause their mental and physical health to deteriorate, and likely lead them back to heroin abuse.
You can’t only treat one disorder in an individual with comorbidity, a term that “describes two or more disorders or illnesses occurring in the same person,” because they will often lead to the worsening of one another and erode whatever progress has been made in treatment (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Both––or all––must be treated at the same time in order for the individual to make the progress necessary to recover from their mental or behavioral disorders.
So How is it Treated?
Most of the time, polydrug abuse is treated in a similar manner to regular, individual substance abuse. Addicts are provided treatment in the form of counseling and therapy alongside western medicine and holistic care options.
Methadone or other maintenance medications may be provided for those who are addicted. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also offered to help stabilize the patient and change their negative behaviors into positive, safe routines.