There are several possible problems that can result from overdose, including brain damage. A drug or alcohol overdose is a serious matter, and if a patient survives then her brain functioning may be impaired permanently.
How Drug Overdose Can Harm the Brain
Drug or alcohol overdose can initiate the following problems that may result in brain damage:
- Hypoxia. This occurs when insufficient levels oxygen get to the brain. Overdose slows brain activity and interferes with respiratory function, which may cause seizures and clog lung passages to slow oxygen from getting to the brain. When the brain does not receive oxygen for even a few minutes, severe brain damage or death may occur.
- Stroke. Overdose impairs brain activity which has a direct link on cardiac function. Cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest can cause a stroke which leaves severe permanent damage to the brain. Stroke is a common side effect of many drugs.
- Disease. Drug or alcohol overdose poisons the body with toxins, which can cause many brain diseases from infection, organ damage, seizures and metabolic abnormalities.
- Tumor. Some drugs can cause brain tumors (malignant or benign). By taking excessive amounts of drugs, certainly in an overdose experience, one greatly increases the chances of developing a brain tumor. Brain tumors will cut off blood supply to healthy brain cells and impair brain function.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). Overdose can also indirectly cause brain damage or injury. Highly intoxicated people are more likely to fall, become concussed or receive a blow to head. Traumatic brain injury can cause coma and other psychological disabilities.
The effects of drug or alcohol overdose on the brain can cause both temporary and permanent damage. Certain areas of the brain may never be able to function as they used to. The consequences may cause cognitive, emotional, behavioral and even physical impairment.
What Happens during an Overdose?
A drug or alcohol overdose may be accidental or intentional. Substance abuse, mixing drugs or being sensitive to a certain drug can all cause toxicity or overdose. People should only take medications as directed to avoid overdose, otherwise drugs act as poison.
Illicit drugs pose extra risk because there is no safe dose to take. Individuals will find illicit drugs toxic at all different doses; predicting how much of an illegal drug will cause overdose is impossible. When taken as directed, a drug will be metabolized to avoid toxicity and other adverse side effects, but when abused a person’s body cannot detox the drug fast enough, resulting in overdose.
Aside from temporary or permanent brain damage, drug or alcohol overdose can cause the following issues:
- Problems with vitals (temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure)
- Sleepiness, unconsciousness or coma
- Nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting blood
- Chest pain
- Heart, lung and other organ damage
- Worsening of a chronic disease (asthma, chest pains, etc.)
Do not gamble your life away because of a drug high. Seek help now for your drug abuse.