A drug overdose is defined as the ingestion or application of a drug or substance in greater quantities than what is recommended. It can either be intentional or accidental, and an overdose can potentially result in death. An individual can overdose on alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs or substances. This is because too much of any drug or substance is toxic to a person’s system, poisoning your body or organs.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms of a Drug Overdose?
The signs and symptoms of a drug overdose can vary depending on what drug or substance was ingested and whether it was a combination of drugs that caused the overdose. Some of the common signs and symptoms of an overdose can include: nausea and vomiting, dilated pupils, unsteady gait, chest pain, difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, stopped breathing, confusion, being disoriented, seizure activity, blue mouth, fingers, or lips, high body temperature, convulsions or tremors, unconsciousness, unresponsiveness, agitation, or even death. An individual may not experience these symptoms and can have other signs and symptoms not listed, again depending upon the substance. However, an obvious sign could be finding someone unresponsive with empty medication bottles near them.
How Does an Overdose Happen?
The causes of a drug overdose can also vary. With an intentional overdose, people often have untreated mental illnesses, suffer from addiction, and give up. Instead of fighting the disease and getting treatment, they may see no other way out. Addiction is a terrible disease. Accidental drug overdoses can also occur for a variety of reasons. Often a person will mix drugs or substances, they are unaware that the combination is deadly, and their breathing stops. This is very likely when mixing opioids and benzodiazepines, for instance. Both of these drugs cause major respiratory depression meaning they slow breathing significantly. Another cause of an accidental overdose can be completely detoxing from a drug or substance, which means losing tolerance. The person may then relapse and try to ingest the same amount of drug as they did before detoxing, and it’s too much; their heart and breathing stop. Drug overdose can also occur for other reasons that have not been listed.
Drug Overdose in the United States
Drug overdose and overdose fatalities in the United States continue to rise each year. The National Institutes of Minority Health and Disparities “The Drug Overdose Epidemic Affects All Communities” reports,
In the last few decades, the drug overdose epidemic has worsened dramatically. The number of deaths from drug overdoses has skyrocketed, particularly among white people and people who live in rural areas. This epidemic aspect has gotten a lot of attention because the rate has been increasing so quickly. However, it is not the whole story of the drug overdose epidemic. A new NIH analysis of drug overdose deaths shows that the epidemic is huge and national, affecting people of all racial and ethnic groups in cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural areas, and rates of drug overdose are rising among almost all groups. Most U.S. overdose deaths involve opioids, a group of drugs that includes illegal drugs like heroin and prescription pain medicines like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report on preliminary data showing a significant decline in prescription use-related deaths for the first time since 1990. However, deaths from other opioid use continue to rise. (NIMHD)
Much like drug addiction, drug overdose can affect anyone; it doesn’t discriminate. However, the United States has got to do a better job of educating on the disease of addiction and overdose.
Treatment for Drug Addiction at Evoke Wellness at Miramar
Evoke Wellness at Miramar is South Florida’s premier medical detox and residential treatment facility. We offer a safe environment where we make sure our clients have the best treatment experience possible. Our programs promote healing and stability in every aspect. Evoke Wellness at Miramar is a fully accredited treatment facility staffed by experienced and licensed addiction specialists. We are here to get you through the treatment process and help you get on the road to long-term recovery.