The term “Drug Overdose” refers to the ingestion of an unsafe quantity of any drug, whether it has been obtained legally, illegally, or through over-the-counter means. It is possible to intentionally or unintentionally overdose on drugs. More than the recommended dosage of any medicine can hurt your health.
The medical consequences of a drug overdose can be fatal. Here’s what you need to know.
Factors that contribute to Drug overdose
Several circumstances increase the possibility of an overdose. The following are some of them:
Improper Drug storage
Drugs that have been improperly stored can be easily accessed by curious young children. Lacking adequate storage and security, medicines pose a serious risk of accidental overdose, especially among young children.
Ignoring Or Not Following Dosage Directions
Overdosing on medicine is possible at any age if the directions aren’t strictly adhered to. An overdose can occur even with a generally safe substance if you take too much or take it too soon.
Unattended ingestions result in over 60,000 annual visits to hospital emergency rooms.
An Addiction or History of Substance Abuse
Overdosing on pharmaceuticals is a concern when people regularly or chronically abuse prescription medications or use illegal substances without a doctor’s approval. More than one drug at once, using different drugs together, or combining them with alcohol all raise the risk of overdose.
Prior History of Mental Illness
An overdose of drugs can be exacerbated by mental health issues. Suicide and depression are risk factors for a drug overdose. If these symptoms are not addressed, the situation can become even more complicated.
Drug Overdose Symptoms
There are a variety of signs that indicate a drug overdose has occurred. Individual susceptibility and the effects of different drugs and dosages all have a role in shaping the spectrum of symptoms that can be expected. In any case, some of the most common signs are:
- Enlarged or constricted pupils
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty while moving
- Blue lips or bluish fingernails
If you or someone you know has recently used drugs, it should be easy to discern if these signs suggest an overdose. Get medical assistance immediately if you experience any of these signs or notice them in another person and suspect an overdose.
Treatment for Drug Overdose
There is no set protocol for dealing with a drug overdose. Knowing how much of a particular substance was consumed is crucial when treating a drug overdose. Nonetheless, such information cannot always be concluded.The following are examples of common treatments that medical professionals may employ or recommend:
- If the victim is having trouble breathing, their airway is cleared or a breathing tube is inserted.
- forcing the victim to throw up to eliminate the substance present in the stomach
- removing the substance from the body by pumping the stomach.
- Administration of fluids intravenously to hasten the elimination of the drug from the body
For specific drug overdoses, doctors may also employ antidotes. If someone has overdosed on heroin, for instance, naloxone can reverse the effects.
Preventing a Drug overdose
Several approaches may be used to curb the incidence of drug overdoses. The most effective method of preventing overdose is to remove potential sites of accidental overdose or points of incitement to violence in the event of an intentional overdose.
If there are kids in the house, put prescription and OTC drugs in a secure location where they can’t access them. You should always follow your doctor’s orders when using any prescription medication. If you have questions about the safety of combining drugs, always check with your doctor first. You should also not combine alcohol, other substances, and medication unless consulting with your doctor.
Addiction to drugs can lead to fatal overdoses; thus, the best thing you can do is to stop taking drugs altogether. There are some safe and risky ways of using medicines, and you must know the difference. For instance, the effects of drugs on the brain are amplified when injected or inhaled, leading to a greater desire for more drug use. Seek medical help or treatment from therapists specializing in substance abuse if you’re having trouble kicking the habit on your own.
Substance abuse treatment programs can help people overcome their drug dependency and reduce their risk of overdosing. Even if you want to resume drug use after finishing therapy, resist the urge. This is because as you progress through treatment, your tolerance decreases, and a standard dose will hurt your health.
Advocate My Meds can help you if you cannot afford your treatment program. They are a full-service prescription drug assistance organization that helps insured and uninsured people in the United States afford the required medication. In addition to providing prescription assistance to patients, they also offer financial assistance for prescriptions.