What Are the Dangers of Mixing Prescriptions?

What Are the Dangers of Mixing Prescriptions?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Some people who struggle with addiction have a habit of mixing prescriptions. This is often done without considering the impact of drugs on the body. However, consistent and reckless abuse of drugs can detrimentally impact one’s physical and mental health. This is especially true when mixing certain chemicals or prescriptions. It is important to break this harmful habit of mixing prescriptions and to seek treatment.

At First Steps Recovery, people can find refuge from mixing prescriptions and substance abuse by receiving high-quality care. In our facility, each client is given an individualized treatment plan to support their personal recovery process.

Dangers of Mixing Prescriptions

Mixing prescriptions can include a combination of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol. Taking multiple drugs at the same time is called polysubstance use, and this type of abuse is the most deadly when an overdose occurs. In 2019, nearly half of the drug overdoses involved multiple drugs. Polysubstance use can be intentional or unintentional. Unintentional polysubstance use occurs when a drug taken was mixed with something unknowingly.

There are many different effects of polysubstance use depending on what drugs are being taken or abused at the same time.

Mixing Stimulants

Stimulants are known to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Abusing stimulants or mixing stimulants can detrimentally impact one’s health. For instance, the following effects can occur:

  • Troubled breathing
  • Increased body temperature
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Brain injury
  • Liver damage
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Mixing Depressants

Depressants are known to slow down breathing. Misuse or mixing of depressants can lead to:

  • Slow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Altered mental status or confusion
  • Passing out
  • Brain or other organ damage
  • Overdose
  • Death

Mixing Prescription or Nonprescription Stimulants and Depressants

There is often a misconception that stimulants and depressants cancel each other out when taken simultaneously. This is not true. The effects of mixing these drugs are unpredictable and it is easy to overdose with this combination.

Mixing Drugs and Alcohol

Similar to mixing prescriptions, mixing drugs with alcohol also has damaging effects on physical and mental health. Even non-prescription drugs when mixed with alcohol can be harmful. Drinking alcohol can also intensify the effects of prescription or non-prescription drugs. The following are some effects of mixing drugs and alcohol:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Internal bleeding
  • Heart problems
  • Decreasing the effectiveness of the medication or making the medication useless
  • Making the medication harmful/toxic to the body by damaging major organs like the brain or heart

Finding Refuge From Substance Abuse Including Mixing Prescriptions

Seeking refuge from drug or substance abuse, especially when mixing prescriptions, is difficult. Often clients do not care about or understand the harm mixing prescriptions has on their overall well-being. However, it is important to seek help and get treated in order to foster a healthier and happier life. When sober, clients regain control over their lives and general well-being without being confined to drugs or other substances.

At First Steps Recovery, there are steps taken to help clients achieve sobriety. Clients are given a personalized treatment plan to ensure the most effective and quality care. The first step of recovery at the facility is the detoxification process.

Detox From Mixing Prescriptions at First Steps Recovery

Detoxification from mixing prescriptions or other substances begins the recovery process for the physical body. The toxins and chemicals from drugs are removed from the body over a period of time. This process helps clients to discontinue their physical dependency on the substances.

As one might expect, the detox process can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is a difficult time of recovery for clients as they must learn to devote themselves to the recovery process. Symptoms may include shaking, anxiety, or cold and hot flashes. The symptoms can persist from two to three days or up to a week.

During detoxification, clients are professionally monitored. Specialists will monitor clients and check vitals throughout the first critical days of detox. First Steps Recovery, especially during this first phase of recovery, promotes a safe, secure, and comfortable environment for clients. A safe environment is key to overall healing and recovery and ensures detox can be completed successfully.

The Timeline for Recovery From Mixing Prescriptions at First Steps Recovery

After detoxification, there are three services offered for clients at First Steps Recovery. Depending on the client, one of the three of these is implemented into their treatment plan. The three services offered for those with SUD include a residential treatment or an inpatient treatment program, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Each service is applicable to clients at different stages of their recovery journey. Each is described below:

  • Our residential or inpatient programs typically last for 30 days. Clients who stay at the facility can take advantage of treatments as well as clinical and holistic approaches of care while staying on-site. This allows for a comprehensive healing experience and helps reduce the likelihood of relapse. 
  • The IOP offers the same advantages as an inpatient program. The difference is that clients can continue with their normal routines instead of staying at the facility. This program lasts for 60 days. 
  • The PHP lasts for 20 days and is similar to the IOP. Clients are given a structured plan of treatment without having to stay overnight at the facility.

Here at First Steps Recovery, we provide services for those struggling with substance abuse. Many clients with drug addiction use multiple prescriptions at the same time. However, mixing prescriptions can have detrimental effects on one’s mental and physical health. In fact, most overdoses occur due to polysubstance use. To address this, our first treatment step is detoxification. This detox process often leads to withdrawal symptoms. The staff at First Steps Recovery closely monitors clients during this stage. After detoxification, clients are given an individualized treatment plan either having them in an inpatient program, partial hospitalization program (PHP), or intensive outpatient program (IOP). To learn more about treatment for mixing prescriptions or other drugs, please call us at (844) 489-0836.

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