Self-Medication and Overdose

Self-medication is a common issue and can be more dangerous than most people realize. Though an individual may have a rudimentary knowledge of the medicine he is taking, many consumers do not do enough research to understand all of the risks of adjusting their drug dosages without consulting their doctors. Overdose occurs when someone takes more of a drug than is healthy or safe to consume at one time and it can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Overdose

It is not always easy to tell if someone has overdosed on a drug, but there are a number of common signs of stimulant overdose that you may watch for, including the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Short temper
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Flushed skin
  • Fluttering heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

Depressants and sedatives, meanwhile, can induce a different range of overdose symptoms, including the following:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Cold, sweaty skin
  • Pupil dilation
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Blue lips from poor circulation
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma

Even if the drug user knows about the dangers of overdosing on the substance he is taking, he can often be fooled by his desperation for instant relief.

Reasons for Overdose

People overdose on their medications for multiple reasons. Some, as mentioned above, do not feel that their current dose is affording them relief from their maladies as quickly as they would wish, so they start taking a higher dose until they feel the desired effects. The reason this is can be dangerous is that drugs tend to build up in the body if one begins to take them more often or in greater amounts than he should. This means that the patient can overdose even if he does not take a large quantity at one time, because the buildup of the substance in his body can have the same effect as if he had taken all of it in one sitting.

Other users may purposely overdose because they want to reach a high to escape some of their everyday stresses, which is a form of self-medication. These users may assume that because their medication was prescribed by a doctor, it would be safer to abuse it than to take the same amount of an illegal drug. However, overdosing on prescription medication may be more dangerous than abusing illegal drugs, because drugs created in a lab are often purer and more concentrated than what can be bought on the street.

Finding Help for Preventing Overdose

If you or your loved one is struggling with self-medicating and is in danger of overdose, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about drug rehab and help you find the best treatment solutions for your situation. Please call now.