Addiction Treatment

Recognizing Drug Overdose Symptoms

Written By:

Becky Babb

Woman feeling down sitting on a couch thinking about drug overdose symptoms

Recognizing the signs of a drug overdose can save someone’s life. A person can overdose on illicit drugs or prescription medication. Drug overdose symptoms may vary, depending on the substance the individual has consumed. It is always safer to seek medical attention for someone who may have overdosed. Those who overdose as a result of drug abuse or addiction should prevent future overdose and other health complications. They can do this by enrolling in a substance abuse treatment program. This will get them on the road to recovery.

What Causes Most Drug Overdoses?

At its core, the main underlying cause of drug overdose is the act of taking more of a drug than the body can process. Some people may overdose on a smaller amount of a drug than others. Severity may vary depending on the drug taken and the amount consumed. The physical health and medical history of the individual also play a part. Many opioid drug-related overdoses occur when the person unknowingly consumes fentanyl in combination with another drug.

Visible Signs of Drug Overdose

There are certain visible symptoms that may indicate drug overdose. An overdose may cause sleepiness, confusion, or a coma. If these symptoms are accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, especially if blood is visible in either case, the individual’s life may be in danger. Sleepiness or loss of consciousness is especially dangerous if a person is experiencing nausea or vomiting. This is because they may inhale vomit into their lungs, which may inhibit breathing and cause death.

Drug Overdose Affects the Vital Signs

During a drug overdose, the individual’s pulse rate, temperature, breathing rate, and blood pressure may change. Any of these vital indicators may substantially increase or decrease as a result of a drug overdose. In order to detect most of these signs, you will likely have to observe more closely. Skin that is cool to the touch and sweaty or hot and dry indicates an elevated or abnormally high body temperature. In some cases, the individual may complain of pain. Abdominal pain, chest pain, shortness of breath, or breathing that has become rapid or slow and deep may suggest cardiovascular or pulmonary distress or organ damage.

Steps to Take When You Think Someone is Having a Drug Overdose

If you notice any symptoms that may suggest a drug overdose, the best thing to do is to seek medical attention for the person. You can call a doctor, 911, or your local emergency department, or a poison control center for help in determining whether the overdose is life-threatening and requires urgent medical action. In some cases, people who are overdosing may be afraid to seek medical attention or refuse to go to the hospital. When you enlist the help of a trained medical professional, the individual may more readily feel persuaded to seek medical attention. This may ultimately preserve their life and health.

Preventing Drug Overdose

If you or someone you know uses drugs or alcohol, the best way to prevent an overdose is to seek treatment before your alcohol or drug habit worsens. Signs that suggest you need addiction treatment include cravings for alcohol or drugs and engaging in risky behaviors while using a substance. Signs also include continuing to abuse substances despite damage to relationships and difficulty keeping up with responsibilities. Substance abuse specialists will work with you to evaluate your substance abuse habits to determine whether you have an addiction. Professionals will also work with you to develop a plan to help you become and remain free of the substance.

Get Help with Drug Addiction

The Last Resort combines proven, traditional approaches to addiction treatment with holistic and creative therapies. We offer cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation therapy, neurofeedback therapy, family therapy, and relapse prevention therapy among other treatment options. There is also an intensive chronic pain recovery program to help individuals who suffer from chronic pain manage their condition while remaining addiction-free. We understand every addiction is personal. Therefore, we offer individualized treatment plans to meet each patient’s unique set of needs. Call today to learn how we can help you experience the lasting freedom of recovery from alcohol and drugs.

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