Alcohol and drug addiction are serious conditions that negatively affect the quality of life of the addict and those around them. If you or a loved one experiences an overdose, it’s essential to take immediate action to ensure the safety and survival of all parties involved.
Though experiencing an overdose is a scary situation, there are steps you can take to start the path towards healing. This article explores what to do after an overdose and how to recognize an overdose when it happens.
Understanding a Drug Overdose
Most people don’t use alcohol or drugs with the intent to overdose. Despite this, overdoses can happen to anyone– whether they’re a first-time user or avid substance abuser. Drugs and alcohol can cause an overdose by inducing physical or psychological changes in the body. These changes can lead to a disruption in normal bodily function and even death.
Overdoses occur when someone takes too much of a substance or mixes drugs with alcohol. During an overdose, breathing slows down and the person may experience confusion, seizures, a slow heart rate, shallow breathing, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an overdose, it’s important to take immediate action by calling 911. Paramedics will take care of the individual as soon as possible and then follow-up actions will be taken.
What a Drug Overdose Looks Like
Drug overdoses often occur unexpectedly. While it’s clear that something’s wrong, it isn’t always obvious that an overdose is happening at the moment.
Signs of an overdose vary based on the type of substance involved. If you or someone you know experiences an overdose, be sure to watch out for signs such as the following:
- Dilated pupils
- Clammy skin
- Shallow breathing
Though some overdoses result in a coma or death, many don’t. While many people survive an overdose, this type of situation is a clear sign that it’s time to get professional help as soon as possible.
Treatment After a Drug Overdose
While drug overdoses are avoidable, they still occur at a high rate of frequency. Overdoses can happen with any illegal drug or substance but are often caused by prescription pills. Statistics show that roughly 91 people a day die as a result of opioid-related overdoses.
Thankfully, there’s something that can be done. Following a drug overdose, the individuals involved must get treatment as soon as possible. While some people may be tempted to quit cold turkey, this approach puts one at a higher risk of relapse. It’s best to enter into treatment as soon as possible to avoid another overdose and begin the steps to overcoming addiction.
There are many different types of treatments for substance use disorders and addiction. Most treatments involve a combination of therapies and medications. If you or someone you know has experienced an overdose, rehab is the best option for help. Common treatments for addiction and overdose include outpatient and inpatient treatment.
These are the immediate steps to take for treatment following a drug overdose:
Address urgent medical needs
After alcohol or drug overdose, emergency medical treatment is needed. Individuals will likely experience abnormal vital signs, cardiac distress, gastrointestinal problems, or memory loss. In many states, the person will be legally required to receive psychiatric care, especially if they overdosed intentionally.
Explore professional treatment options
An overdose is typically a sign of a long-term substance abuse problem. In this situation, it’s time to explore options for professional treatment at a rehab facility.
Begin detoxing with medical assistance
Following an overdose, it’s important to undergo a medically assisted detox. With the help of a medical professional, you can start weaning your body off of its dependency on alcohol and drugs.
Decide on a treatment program
After detoxing, experts recommend completing treatment at a rehab facility. WIth a comprehensive inpatient treatment program, clients will stay between 30 – 90 days on-site while receiving care for their substance use disorder.
If you have experienced an overdose or know someone that has, it’s time to take action today. If you have any questions about recovering from an overdose, be sure to contact us at 844-903-2111. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day and ready to speak with you.