Despite the common depiction of a drug overdose on TV and in movies, an overdose can happen to anyone using a drug, and at any time. Whether it is your first-time user or if you have already fallen into a substance use disorder, you are at risk. There are, however, steps you can take in preventing overdose. The most notable way to avoid a drug overdose is to get professional help to safely quit drugs and begin living a sober life. Our treatment team can provide information about our many drug rehab programs and treatment plans that can put you on the road to recovery.
What Is A Drug Overdose?
Whenever you take too much of any drug, you have technically overdosed. This is because an overdose is defined as taking more than the normal or recommended amount of something. This means that a drug overdose is determined by how and why you use a drug, and most importantly, how your body reacts to the substances, not by the specific amount of the drug you take. A drug overdose may result in serious and harmful symptoms or even death.
To understand effective drug overdose prevention, you must be aware of the factors that influence overdose, including your:
- Tolerance levels
- Physical health
- Mental well-being
- Hydration level
How Does a Drug Overdose Happen?
An overdose can be accidental or intentional and can come about from medical or recreational drug use. Some people who overdose are indeed struggling with a drug addiction or substance use disorder, while others suffer a drug overdose on their first experience with drugs. This can happen, in large part, because of a lack of tolerance to the substance(s) they are trying.
When you take a drug regularly, your mind and body gradually develop a tolerance to it. This is why drug use can get progressively more extreme and dangerous. You will need more and more of the drug to reach the same level of high you first experienced, as well as to reach the point where you feel what you know now as “normal.”
When you reach this scary level of dependency, you will likely feel intense pain, severe illness, and other dangerous withdrawal symptoms should you stop taking the drug. This may cause you to return to the drugs to ward off negative mental or physical feelings of withdrawal, and when you do, you increase your risk of an overdose. The same is true as you increase the amount of the drugs to offset your growing tolerance to them.
Ways of Preventing Overdose
Completely stopping all drug use is the only true drug overdose prevention. That said, there are ways of practicing drug overdose prevention, including:
- Consulting a doctor
- Discovering alternative treatments
- Using medications only as prescribed
- Never mixing any medications
- Never taking prescriptions that are not your own
- Avoiding illegal drugs completely
- Reaching out for professional help in the case of dependency and addiction
Signs of an Overdose
When it comes to drug overdose prevention, it can be critical to be aware of and quickly identify the signs of a drug overdose. Some of the common signals of an overdose are:
- Loss of consciousness
- Shallow breathing
- Limp body
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Small pupils
- Pale blue or cold skin, lips, or nails
Learn More at Midwest Recovery
If you worry that you or someone you love is at risk of suffering a drug overdose, learn how Midwest Recovery’s addiction treatment programs can help.