4 Steps to Take After an Overdose

4 Steps to Take After an Overdose

Drug overdose is a serious and concerning matter. It’s not only the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the US, but it might also be a clear indicator of a bigger problem—drug addiction.

Data regarding drug overdose in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that overdose has become an alarming problem in recent years that has resulted in around 120 people dying every day. Also, nearly 7,000 individuals are treated every day in the emergency room due to drug abuse. And if this wasn’t enough reason to pay attention to the problem, research shows that the death rates by overdose have more than doubled in the past 15 years.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a document presenting the numbers related to some of the most commonly abused substances. Prescription medications hold the unfortunate first place ranking for leading to death by overdose. A considerable increase can also be seen in the number of deaths by heroin from 2001 to 2013 with a fivefold increase.

All of these numbers represent a real problem that needs to be addressed soon to stop these increasing statistics. Sadly, some of those numbers represent people who have had several overdoses in their lives and who have continued abusing drugs immediately after temporarily recovering instead of seeking addiction recovery. What are some short-term and long-term steps to take after an overdose?

Overdose Treatment and Life After an Overdose

First of all, it is important to note that all cases of drug overdose need immediate medical attention. Drug overdose is defined as a drug dose being big enough to cause a dangerous level of toxicity. This might happen after a big single dose or over a period of time while the substance accumulates in the body.

Specific reactions will depend on the specific drug causing the overdose, but some of the most dangerous symptoms include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations

After death by overdose has been averted, the patient or addict might need to consider why the overdose happened and take important steps to avoid another occurrence. Here are four steps to take into consideration:

  • Keep close to your healthy support system – Research has shown that the brain may have a long recovery process after an overdose. This means that withdrawal symptoms, high levels of dependence and withdrawal, and sleep disorders may appear for up to three months. This period might leave a person prone to addiction if overdose treatment is not obtained.
  • Get a clear picture of the problem – What was the reason of the overdose? Was it an accidental overdose while taking a medication or the result of recreational use? In both cases it is necessary to identify the underlying causes and the circumstances that led to the overdose. Also, it is important to understand the physical and psychological risks of overdosing again, especially if you do so soon after the first overdose. Again, discussing the matter with a professional physician or counselor is your best option.
  • Obtain psychological help – The period after an overdose is a confusing and hectic time and can cause a person to experience high levels of anxiety, concern, and even fear. Leaving all of these feelings unattended could lead you to continue using drugs to deal with the issues, and consequently triggering more negative consequences. A trained therapist will help you address these concerns in an appropriate setting and to cope with and understand underlying causes. Family counseling has been effective to help all the members of the household and other close relatives deal with the addiction and its effect on the family.
  • Consider an addiction recovery program – Even though an overdose does not necessarily mean that someone is an addict, it could be an indicator of a problem of substance abuse, dependence and addiction. After a medical evaluation, your physician might suggest participating in either an outpatient or inpatient program for addiction. This should not be considered as a last resort, especially when an overdose has happened on more than one occasion. An intervention orchestrated by a professional interventionist and with the participation of friends and family might be needed to help a loved one who is reluctant to accept that he has a problem.

These four steps can be considered short- and long-term. The reason for this is that addiction is a chronic disease that is not cured but controlled. Addiction recovery after an overdose will involve constant care to avoid a relapse and cope with difficulties in a healthy and safe way. Support groups are another good option for those who require or want to benefit from constant support as part of their addiction recovery treatment program.

Addiction Help After an Overdose

It is crucial to find the advice and assistance you need if you or a loved one has just had an overdose. By calling to our toll-free helpline you can receive assistance of this kind at no cost at all. Our information services can help you find programs with the best values near to you, including intervention services, medically-supervised detox programs, and family counseling. Get the addiction help that you need and call now.