If someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, you are likely worried for both their wellbeing and their safety.  Addiction creates problems at work, destroys relationships, and damages physical and mental health. The most immediate concern for many loved ones of addicted individuals, however, is the possibility of overdose.  Drug and alcohol overdose can lead to several dire symptoms, including coma and death. While the only way to ensure a person with an addiction will not overdose is for them to seek treatment, it is a good idea for those closest to the individual to know how to recognize the signs of an overdose, and how to intervene if necessary.

Alcohol overdose, otherwise known as alcohol poisoning, occurs when someone drinks too much alcohol in a short period of time, causing areas of the brain that control critical functions to shut down.  Someone experiencing alcohol poisoning might appear confused or unconscious, vomit, have irregular breathing, or have seizures. Bluish or pale skin and low body temperature are also signs of this potentially fatal condition.  People have also died from choking on their own vomit while passed out from too much alcohol consumption. If you suspect someone may be suffering from an alcohol overdose, make sure they are sitting up or laying on their side, and contact emergency services immediately.

Drug overdose has many of the same symptoms as alcohol poisoning, but may differ somewhat depending on the type of drug ingested.  Some stimulant drugs result in a rapid heartrate and can lead to cardiac arrest, as well as internal bleeding. Other drugs, such as opioids like prescription painkillers and heroin, cause a slow heart rate and can potentially cause the user to stop breathing.  If you witness someone with any of these symptoms who you believe might be in the process of an overdose, don’t hesitate to call 911, even if you aren’t sure.

The only foolproof way to prevent overdose is to find a way into recovery from addiction.  If you or someone you love has developed an addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.