An overdose can affect the body and brain in several dangerous ways. Even when the overdose results from a prescription drug, a person can still be at risk of long-term consequences. Learn how to spot the long and short-term effects of an overdose to get the help you need.
Five Possible Effects of an Overdose
What an individual experiences during an overdose depends on the substance they have used. While overdoses are common when someone takes too much of a particular drug, overdoses also occur when a person has taken more than one substance, and the interactions between the substances lead to unintended effects.
Some immediate effects of an overdose include:
1. Slowed Breathing
Slowed breathing is one of the most common effects of an overdose. This can occur if someone has overdosed on opioids, alcohol, or other depressants. In some cases, breathing can slow to the point that it stops, which will prove fatal without medical intervention.
Vomiting is also a common overdose symptom, especially in the event of an alcohol overdose. This can be dangerous if the individual is alone during the overdose. In some cases, someone will vomit while asleep and choke without ever waking up.
Seizures can occur as a result of a stimulant or alcohol overdose. A seizure can lead to injuries from striking body parts against the ground or other objects, but it can also result in other health issues like temporary confusion, loss of consciousness, severe headaches, and brain damage.
When enough oxygen can’t get to the brain, an overdose can cause a coma. Recovering from a coma can take a significant amount of time, as comas can lead to problems with memory, coordination, and communication. In some cases, those who are in comas due to an overdose never recover.
5. Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest is a potentially fatal event that can also lead to lasting health issues if the person survives. If you see signs of cardiac arrest, like unexplained wheezing, chest pain, fainting, or lightheadedness, you should call 911 to ensure the person gets the immediate medical attention required. There are invisible side effects of cardiac arrest that can have fatal effects, so you should always make sure a doctor is involved with the recovery process.
The Long-Term Effects of an Overdose
While these short-term overdose effects are concerning, the long-term effects of an overdose can require attention as well. Even after the immediate danger has passed, an overdose can cause lasting psychological and physical damage. The mental health effects of an overdose can involve anxiety, depression, and memory problems, while physical effects can include Toxic Brain Injury, liver damage, compromised cardiovascular health, and neurological consequences.
Reach Out to Ascend Healthcare Today
Avoiding an overdose is possible with the help of a professional treatment program. Those who struggle with addiction can heal through therapy, counseling, and medical care in a safe, supportive environment. If someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, connect with a treatment center near you today.
Ascend Healthcare has several treatment centers that could be the key to helping your teen thrive. So when you think it’s time for a residential treatment program for your child, discuss your options with our admissions team today. We can help them take their lives back from drug and alcohol addiction.