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Can I quit multiple addictions at once?

Written by Drew Redd. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

Addiction to multiple substances is challenging to overcome. To combat a polysubstance addiction, you need a well-structured plan, unwavering determination, and professional help. Ardu Recovery Center specializes in treating people with multiple addictions. 

Table of Contents

If you are struggling with substance abuse, our drug and alcohol rehab center provides comprehensive care to overcome addiction through holistic and medical approaches. We combine evidence-based therapies, personalized treatment plans, and a compassionate support system to guide you through recovery. 

Begin your healing today with our detox program.

Understanding addiction

Addiction starts with voluntary drug or alcohol use. People have different reasons for trying drugs or alcohol: curiosity, peer pressure, increased stress, trauma, or mental health issues. With repeated use, the brain starts to adapt to the presence of the substance. 

How does addiction change the brain?

Addiction causes significant biochemical changes in the brain’s structure and function. Uhl, et. al. explain several ways in which repeated drug or alcohol use affects the brain and leads to addictive behaviors. 

  1. Addictive substances hijack the brain’s reward system by flooding it with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that produces intense euphoria. Over time, this transitions from a voluntary act driven by the reward pathway to a compulsive habit, leading to drug use despite negative consequences.
  2. As addiction takes hold, it changes the brain in several ways:
    • Reduced dopamine receptors and prefrontal cortex activity impair judgment and self-control over drug urges.
    • The stress pathway gets dysregulated. Increased levels of stress neurotransmitters in the extended amygdala during withdrawal motivate further drug use to relieve this negative state. 
    • Drug cues trigger glutamate buildup, altering the nucleus accumbens to encode powerful drug memories that increase the risk of relapse upon re-exposure.
  3. With chronic drug exposure, addiction becomes hard-wired into the person’s biology and brain at the deepest molecular level.

What is the economic cost of addiction?

Uhl, et. al. also propose that addiction is a significant economic burden.

Substance abuse disorders exert not only a significant public health burden—individuals with substance use disorders are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, hypertension, injuries, poisonings, and overdose—but they also impose significant economic burdens. 

Read more about the economic cost of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the United States.

What is addiction withdrawal?

As a result of chronic use, people experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit or cut back. Many do want to quit when they become aware of the severity of their addiction and the negative consequences, but compulsive use makes quitting extremely difficult.

What is cross addiction?

Some people, in an attempt to quit one addiction, replace it with another, a phenomenon known as cross-addiction. In cross-addiction, a person switches from one addictive behavior or substance to another, often unknowingly or believing that the new addiction is less harmful. This cycle can perpetuate the addictive pattern and hinder recovery efforts.

When attempting to quit drug abuse, many switch to alcohol, but they can easily fall into the trap of alcohol use disorder. If you or someone you care about are addicted to drinking, our alcohol rehab center provides the treatment you need. Ardu’s medically supervised alcohol detox program supports you through withdrawal symptoms and teaches you coping strategies for a successful recovery journey.

It’s bad enough that a single addiction requires a complex approach to battle; for some people, the struggle is compounded by having to combat multiple addictions simultaneously. Co-occurring addictions to multiple substances pose a significant challenge to treat and overcome.

The most commonly co-occurring addictions

The most commonly co-occurring addictions include:

Multiple addictions exacerbate the negative consequences of substance abuse, increase health risks, and make treating any one addiction much more complicated. Those suffering from multiple addictions often contend with an underlying mental health condition at the same time. This dual diagnosis makes the treatment of polysubstance abuse even more difficult.

Ardu recognizes this challenge and offers integrated co-occurring disorder treatment to address both substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. Reach out to our dual diagnosis experts and overcome all your addictions and related mental health problems.

Why do people develop multiple addictions?

The reasons for developing one addiction are complex and unique, let alone multiple substance addictions. The key risk factors include:

  1. Self-medication:  many people use different substances to cope with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. 
  2. Access and availability: easy access to different addictive substances through social circles, living environments or illicit markets make it easy to start using and become addicted to multiple substances.
  3. Genetic predisposition: inheriting genes makes a person more vulnerable to developing addictions.
  4. Lack of effective treatment: inadequately treated addiction to one substance increases vulnerability to abusing others as substitutes or supplements.
  5. Risk-taking behavior: people display tendencies towards impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and poor self-regulation, which raise the risk of experimenting with multiple drugs.
  6. Environmental influences: people who grew up around substance abuse, physical or sexual abuse, and peer pressure can normalize polysubstance use.
  7. Mental illness: underlying psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, or PTSD increase addiction propensity across multiple substances.

According to a 2024 book, Opioid Use Disorder, around 2.1 million Americans are addicted to opioids. If you are among the Americans grappling with opioid addiction, Ardu’s opioid rehab center offers a path to recovery. We combine medication management with evidence-based therapies and counseling to help you deal with withdrawal safely.

Contact our opioid detox center and start your healing today.

Is it safe to quit multiple addictions at the same time?

You can safely quit multiple addictions at the same time if you have professional medical assistance by your side. The overlapping and compounding withdrawal symptoms from different substances can become severe, even life-threatening in some cases. 

If you try to quit multiple addictions at the same time without medical supervision, you may experience: 

  • Severe withdrawal symptoms
  • Risk of seizures
  • Delirium tremens: a severe form of withdrawal called delirium tremens, characterized by confusion, hallucinations, fever, and cardiovascular issues
  • Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from vomiting, diarrhea and sweating
  • Intense psychological distress
  • Unmanaged pain: muscle cramps and bone or joint aches
  • Increased relapse risks

That’s why you need proper medical supervision to keep potentially fatal complications at bay and improve long-term recovery chances.

Ardu’s medical detox program provides unparalleled, multi-faceted care to ensure a safe and effective detox from multiple substances at the same time. We prioritize a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach which includes:

  1. Medication management: our physicians prescribe an individually tailored regimen of FDA-approved medications to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms arising from different substances safely and comfortably.
  2. 24/7 medical monitoring: our patients receive round-the-clock medical supervision and monitoring. We intervene promptly and prevent any life-threatening complications from compounded withdrawals.
  3. Integrated treatment: we deploy a multidisciplinary team of addiction doctors, nurses, psychologists, and therapists to provide complete psychological, behavioral, and physical support throughout the detox process.
  4. Intensive inpatient setting: our residential facility offers a substance-free, secure environment where patients can focus solely on overcoming their multiple addictions without external triggers.
  5. Dual diagnosis expertise: we specialize in treating co-occurring substance addictions and mental health disorders holistically and simultaneously.
  6. Continuum of care: successful detox lays the crucial groundwork, after which we transition patients to evidence-based therapies, counseling, and aftercare for lasting recovery from polysubstance abuse.

Without professional medical management, the risk of severe health consequences and relapse increases substantially when you attempt to quit polysubstance addictions on your own. 

At our drug addiction rehab center, you’ll receive round-the-clock clinical supervision and the safest, most comfortable care to overcome drug dependence. Our state-of-the-art drug detox facility provides a secure, trigger-free environment to start recovery under qualified medical monitoring.

Contact Ardu Recovery Center.

Ardu’s comprehensive treatment plan for multiple addictions

At Ardu, we understand the immense challenge of overcoming multiple addictions simultaneously. That’s why we take a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treat the full scope of polysubstance abuse and any co-occurring mental health disorders. Our integrated treatment plan encompasses every aspect of healing: mind, body, and spirit.

From the moment you arrive, our medical team provides round-the-clock supervision during detox to keep withdrawal symptoms manageable and safe. 

Our detox center

The detox process for multiple addictions requires extreme care and medical supervision. Our physicians and nursing staff provide a secure, inpatient setting with 24/7 monitoring to safely guide you through the withdrawal period. We use an individualized medication regimen with FDA-approved drugs to alleviate the overlapping symptoms and minimize discomfort as substances leave your system. 

Our integrative approach also incorporates nutritional therapies and supportive care to rebuild your strength during this critical first stage of recovery. Once stabilized, you’ll work closely with our counselors, therapists, and recovery specialists to uncover the underlying issues fueling your addictions.

Intensive inpatient rehab program

Once physically stabilized, you’ll transition into our intensive inpatient program. Here, you’ll have a multidisciplinary treatment team—counselors, therapists, and recovery specialists—dedicated to providing comprehensive care. Our robust psychoeducational curriculum covers relapse prevention, stress management, communication skills, and other fundamental tools for sober living

Through individual and group therapy, evidence-based psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed care, we’ll help you uncover the root issues driving your polysubstance abuse. 

Simultaneously, our holistic services such as mindfulness, art therapy, spiritual counseling, and more promote healing of the mind, body and spirit. Our goal is an immersive therapeutic environment to equip you with the skills for lifelong sobriety.

Get Ardu’s professional help to kick your addictions

If you’re struggling with multiple addictions, our recovery center should be your first call. We understand that underlying mental health disorders frequently drive people to abuse multiple substances as a way to self-medicate or escape. Our programming is specifically tailored to address these challenges head-on, focusing on the intertwined issues of co-occurring disorders and polysubstance dependence.

Our team will craft a customized plan to uncover and address the root causes driving your harmful substance abuse behaviors. With compassionate, evidence-based care, we’ll provide the tools and support to safely manage withdrawal risks, build motivation, and embrace long-term sobriety from all substances of abuse.

Don’t wait until your next relapse to get help for your addictions. We’re here right now to guide you through the process of quitting multiple dependencies safely and effectively. Contact us today to take the first step towards recovery.

Visit our insurance verification page and gather all the payment information.

Drew Redd

Drew Redd is the executive director of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.

Multiple addictions FAQ

What is the rule of 3 for addiction?

The rule of 3 highlights three key aspects of addiction: compulsion, craving, and continued use despite negative consequences. 

  • Compulsion refers to the strong urge or impulse to use a substance or engage in a behavior. 
  • Craving is the intense desire or urge to use a substance or engage in an addictive behavior. 
  • Continued use despite negative consequences indicates the pattern where individuals persist in addictive behaviors despite experiencing adverse effects on their health, relationships, or other aspects of life.

What skills are needed for recovery from addiction?

Recovery from addiction requires a range of skills to effectively manage the withdrawal, cravings, and psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol. These skills include:

  • Coping skills are essential to manage stress and cravings, which are common triggers for relapse. 
  • Communication skills play a crucial role in expressing needs and emotions effectively, leading to healthier relationships. 
  • Problem-solving skills help navigate difficult situations without resorting to addictive behaviors. 
  • Self-care skills, including proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep, are vital for maintaining physical and mental well-being during recovery.

What are the three types of addicts?

Addicts are often classified into three categories based on their behavior. 

  1. Experimenters are those who try substances or behaviors out of curiosity but do not develop a dependency. 
  2. Regular users use substances or engage in behaviors regularly but can stop if they choose to. 
  3. Addicts are individuals who are physically and psychologically dependent on substances or behaviors, often experiencing negative consequences but finding it difficult to stop without help.

What are the most addictive behaviors?

Addictive behaviors vary from person to person, but some common addictive behaviors include:

  • Gambling can become an extremely compulsive behavior, with people becoming addicted to the thrill and chasing losses. Gambling addiction has similarities to substance addictions in terms of the brain’s reward centers being activated.
  • Shopping. The initial high of making purchases, coupled with easy access to credit, can wire the brain to constantly seek that rewarding feeling through excessive shopping and spending beyond one’s means.
  • Internet use or gaming includes video games, social media, porn, and other internet activities. They hijack the brain’s reward pathways, leading to compulsive, addiction-like use that interferes with daily life. 
  • Eating is necessary for life, but some people become addicted to the rewarding neurotransmitters released by certain hyper-palatable foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. This can lead to compulsive overeating, obesity, and other health issues.
  • Sexual behaviors can become addictive through the brain’s natural reward system being overridden by constant novel sexual stimuli, fueling a compulsive cycle.
  • Exercise is healthy in moderation, but some people can develop exercise addiction, obsessively pushing past recommended limits despite injuries or other consequences.
  • Workaholics compulsively overwork despite impacts on relationships, health, and life balance can be a form of behavioral addiction.

These types of addictive behaviors share similarities with substance addictions in terms of the brain’s reward centers and dopamine response becoming dysregulated, driving compulsive continuation of the behavior despite negative consequences. All these behaviors may require professional treatment to break these addictive cycles.

Is addiction genetic?

There is evidence to suggest that addiction can have a genetic component. Genetic factors can contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to developing an addiction. Twin studies have consistently shown that addictions have a significant heritable component, with heritability estimates ranging from 0.39 for hallucinogen addiction to 0.72 for cocaine addiction. 

Genetics alone do not determine whether someone will develop an addiction. Environmental factors and personal choices also play significant roles.

What is mental addiction?

Mental addiction, also known as psychological addiction, is a condition where a person is psychologically dependent on a substance or behavior. While the substance or behavior may not be physically addictive, the individual may feel a strong compulsion or craving to engage in it because of the perceived psychological benefits or rewards. 

This behavioral addiction is complex and challenging to overcome because the cravings and compulsions are often deeply rooted in the individual’s thoughts and emotions. The frontal cortex, responsible for decision-making and impulse control, is affected by addictive substances or behaviors, leading to impaired judgment and difficulty in resisting urges. 

Crews and Boettiger propose that alcohol abuse disorders involve a loss of behavioral control because of impaired executive functions such as planning, attention, and inhibiting impulsive responses. These actions are governed by the frontal cortical areas of the brain.

Cross-addiction can complicate mental addiction. For example, someone who is mentally addicted to gambling may also develop an addiction to alcohol as a way to cope with the stress and emotions associated with their gambling addiction. Treatment for mental addiction often involves addressing underlying issues such as co-occurring mental health disorders, as well as teaching coping mechanisms and strategies to manage cravings and compulsions.

What is the most important part of addiction recovery?

The most important part of addiction recovery is the individual’s motivation and commitment to change. These factors are often the driving force behind successful recovery journeys. Motivation can be influenced by personal goals, social support, and the desire for a better quality of life. Commitment to change involves not only a willingness to participate in treatment but also a dedication to making lasting lifestyle changes.

It is crucial for people in recovery to address co-occurring mental health conditions because these can significantly hinder the recovery process. If you’re battling co-occurring mental health issues alongside addiction, seek treatment for both and improve your overall well-being while reducing the risk of relapse. A support network of family, friends, and healthcare providers can provide the encouragement and assistance needed to maintain sobriety and navigate the challenges of recovery.

What is the ultimate goal of addiction treatment?

The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to achieve long-term abstinence from addictive substances or behaviors. Treatment aims to address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction, helping individuals improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of relapse. Treatment may involve a combination of therapy, medication, support groups, and lifestyle changes tailored to the individual’s needs.


Uhl, G. R., Koob, G. F., & Cable, J. (2019). The neurobiology of addiction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1451(1), 5-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13989

Dydyk, A. M., Jain, N. K., & Gupta, M. (2024, January 17). Opioid Use Disorder. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553166/

Ducci, F., & Goldman, D. (2012). The Genetic Basis of Addictive Disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 35(2), 495. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2012.03.010

Crews, F. T., & Boettiger, C. A. (2009). Impulsivity, Frontal Lobes and Risk for Addiction. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 93(3), 237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2009.04.018

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