Author: Charles Frank

Overdose: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

what is a drug overdose

To prevent an overdose, follow a doctor’s directions for all prescription medications. With the right care and prevention strategies, it is possible to treat drug overdoses or prevent them altogether. This drug class includes prescription drugs like diet aids, and illegally-produced drugs like cocaine.

  1. The UN gives a figure of 300,000 deaths per year in the world through drug overdose.
  2. Poisoning occurs when someone or something (such as the environment) exposes you to dangerous chemicals, plants, or other harmful substances without your knowledge.
  3. If they begin vomiting, help them lean forward so they do not choke.

Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time (binge drinking) can rapidly increase the amount of alcohol in the blood. This makes it difficult for the body to remove alcohol from the bloodstream and can harm other body parts. Combining different drugs can cause a particularly dangerous overdose.

What are the signs of drug overdose?

Drug overdose is the intake of a drug in amounts much higher than recommended, within a short timeframe. A person can overdose on a wide range of drugs from prescription opioids to illicit drugs, alcohol, and most other potent or addictive substances. When discussing “what is overdose,” it’s important to mention people can also overdose on herbal medicines, not just prescription medications. Overdose death from excessive use of alcohol is often caused by binge drinking, which means drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. Alcohol poisoning occurs when more alcohol is consumed than the body can metabolize, so BAC levels become toxic.

An overdose may result in serious, harmful symptoms or death. Research shows long-term use or misuse of stimulants may result in aggressive behavior, severe agitation, and suicidal or homicidal actions. Some stimulants have also been linked to paranoia, which may include auditory and visual hallucinations.

what is a drug overdose

Anyone experiencing symptoms of an overdose should seek emergency medical care immediately. Of course, moderating the consumption of alcohol and other substances can be challenging for individuals with a substance use disorder. This chronic condition involves the ongoing overuse of a substance.

Poisoning occurs when someone or something (such as the environment) exposes you to dangerous chemicals, plants, or other harmful substances without your knowledge. For example, alcohol is absorbed through the proximal gastrointestinal (GI) tract and primarily metabolized in the liver. The main site of action of acute alcohol poisoning, or alcohol overdose, is the central nervous system (CNS). In the central nervous system, alcohol elevates CNS inhibition and reduces excitation. When taking a prescription medication, always follow a doctor’s instructions and take the medication exactly as they prescribed it. When in doubt about the correct dosage, consult with a doctor or pharmacist.

However, when used other than as prescribed, opioids are extremely dangerous and can lead to abuse, addiction, and fatal overdoses. Illegally produced opioids may contain other dangerous drugs or may have a higher than expected potency, which can prove lethal to an unknowing user. A drug or alcohol overdose happens when a person consumes a lethal or toxic amount of an addictive substance, poisoning the body. An overdose may be accidental or may be a deliberate suicide attempt. Drug overdose is caused by a rapid and excessively high intake of a drug (or more of them) whose effects overwhelm the brain and body. The mechanism of action that leads to the development of overdose varies from one type of drug to another.

If the overdose happens by mistake, it is called an accidental overdose. For example, a young child may accidentally take an adult’s medicine.

Drug Overdose Deaths Remained High in 2021

The most important factor in overcoming drug overdose and achieving recovery is getting the necessary treatment without delays. Recovery duration depends on the effects of the overdose on the body i.e., the extent of organ damage and other complications. Non-fatal drug overdoses are more frequent than fatal overdose cases, WebMD confirms. A study from Pediatric Research found between 1999 and 2018, more than 1000 children under the age of 12 died from drug overdoses. In the period between 1999 and 2007, opioid overdoses accounted for almost half of pediatric patient deaths.

what is a drug overdose

Individuals experiencing a stimulant overdose should stay hydrated and cool. If they begin to have a seizure, ensure no harmful objects are close to them. There are a range of treatments available for different kinds of drug overdose. It discusses what a drug overdose is, why it occurs, and how to prevent it. However, an overdose can be deadly or can result in permanent brain damage if treatment is delayed. An overdose is when you take more than the recommended amount of something, often a medicine or drug.

What are the treatments for drug overdose?

The risk of overdose is greatest for those misusing prescription drugs or taking illegal drugs. Combining a drug with other drugs or alcohol greatly increases the risks. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, immediately call 911. If an overdose victim is not breathing, 911 operators will explain how to administer CPR. Recognizing the symptoms of a drug overdose is crucial to treating this reaction.

This lack of oxygen can cause organ damage, unconsciousness, and even death. An opioid overdose happens due to the excessive effect of these drugs on the brain area that regulates the respiratory rate. This results in respiratory depression and may lead to death. When it comes to cocaine, a paper from The Open Pharmacology Journal reports that at high concentrations, this drug can alter pathways in the brain. At the same time, cocaine can bind to sodium and potassium channels.

Your health care provider may refer to an overdose as an ingestion. For those who survive an overdose, permanent brain damage and other organ damage is possible. Signs and symptoms of an overdose vary depending on the drug or exposure to toxins. The symptoms can often be divided into differing toxidromes. This can help one determine what class of drug or toxin is causing the difficulties. The appropriate number of pills depends on the person and their medication.

How can a person prevent drug overdose?

They want to inflict self-harm and choose drugs as a method to make it happen. Risks of drug abuse include mixing drugs, low tolerance, dropping out of treatment, not knowing enough about the drug, having mental health problems, and method of use. Even after administering this medication, it is crucial to take anyone experiencing an opioid overdose to the emergency room. An overdose is not the same as a poisoning, although the effects can be the same.

Self-care after treatment plays an important role in overcoming drug overdose. That means a patient should adhere to all doctor’s instructions and make necessary lifestyle adjustments. A healthy lifestyle is incredibly important to both physical and mental health. Drug overdose has physical and mental or psychological effects. The severity of the effects depends on the type of substance or substances abused as well as how the body responds to them. Drug overdose is common, but available numbers mainly focus on death cases.

Drug Overdose Deaths

This can lead to breathing difficulties, lowered heart rate, seizures, and loss of consciousness. A drug overdose means that an individual has consumed a toxic amount of a substance. According to the National Harm Reduction Coalition, ingesting too much of one or multiple drugs can harm the body. Each class of drugs has a unique effect on the brain and body, causing death by overdose for different reasons.

In other words, drinking too much too quickly can overstimulate GABA pathways and induce symptoms of alcohol poisoning or overdose. While fatal drug overdose cases are common, one report showed that for every 1 overdose death, there are 10 non-fatal overdose cases. Not all cases of drug overdose lead to death, but they can have dangerous effects and consequences. An intentional overdose happens when a person takes too much of a drug (or more of them) too quickly and on purpose.