General or Other | - Others | Overdose (Disease)


A drug overdose is the accidental or intentional use of a drug or medicine in an amount that is higher than is normally used.

All drugs have the potential to be misused, whether legally prescribed by a doctor, purchased over-the-counter at the local drug store, or bought illegally on the street. Taken in combination with other drugs or with alcohol, even drugs normally considered safe can cause death or serious long term consequences.

Causes and Risk factors

Children are particularly at risk for accidental overdose, accounting for over one million poisonings each year from drugs, alcohol, and other chemicals and toxic substances. People who suffer from depression and who have suicidal thoughts are also at high risk for drug overdose.

Accidental drug overdose may be the result of misuse of prescription medicines or commonly used medications like pain relievers and cold remedies. Symptoms differ depending on the drug taken. Some of the drugs commonly involved in overdoses are listed below along with symptoms and outcomes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of a drug overdose may be based on the symptoms that develop, however, the drug may do extensive damage to the body before significant symptoms develop. If the patient is conscious, he or she may be able to tell what drugs were taken and in what amounts.

The patients recent medical and social history may also help in a diagnosis. For example, a list of medications that the patient takes, whether or not alcohol was consumed recently, even if the patient has eaten in the last few hours before the overdose, can be valuable in determining what was taken and how fast it will be absorbed into the system.

Therapy includes supportive treatment to prevent permanent damage from the overdose. Further treatment depends on the overdose since not all medications have antidotes. ...

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