A drug overdose, as the name suggests, implies an over-intake of a drug. It could be a prescription drug, over-the-counter drug, legal, or even illegal. Moreover, these overdoses are likely to be intentional or accidental. To put it simply, id one tends to consume more than the recommended quantity of drug to harm the body’s functions, he/she has overdosed.
There could be several severe complications arising out of a drug overdose. At times, it could also lead to death if not addressed on time. The medical history of the person concerned also plays an important role in the outcomes of drug overdose.
Age Group and Ethnicity
Research conducted of late has stated that people aged between 18 and 24 have indulged in intentional suicides in the last few years in the US alone. Coming to older people, the age group is between 75 and 84. The third category is that of non-Hispanic Black women.
The year 2020 saw close to 92K fatalities in the US through drug overdoses. Additional research findings have inferred that women are more likely to succumb to intentional drug overdoses. The highest rate is observed in the women between 45 and 64 years.
Besides, The American Journal of Psychiatry led by investigators at NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has published that 5-7% of the deaths from overdose were clocked as “intentional”. It has stated further that the actual numbers are likely to be higher.
Study also states that those diagnosed with mental illnesses apart from anxiety and mood disorders also suffer from a substance use disorder.
Emily Einstein, Ph.d., chief of Science Policy Branch of NIDA has stated that suicide risk out of intentional overdoses isn’t static. She also mentioned that it’s important for family friends and friends of those who have these suicidal tendencies to be aware of their plight and monitor them at regular intervals, and not just stop there. Continuous interaction with medical practitioners is recommended.
It’s vital for the parents to identify the red flags. They should be looking out for signs that their teenage kids or the ones in early 20s are struggling with. They could be inclusive of (but certainly not limited to) mood swings, improper eating/sleeping patterns, or drawing/writing/talking about suicide. Parents should be very much open to do the talking with children as per their comfort. This is certainly the key to wean off the suicidal thoughts in them.
Parents should certainly not wait for children to attain a certain age to talk about suicidal tendencies. It has been observed that 8% of the kids aged between 9 and 10 do think about suicide. Parents themselves should shun the inhibitions regarding this. They should not demean their kids for thinking about suicide. They should, instead look at the positives, i.e. the maturity level of their kids to think of something as serious as suicide.
Apart from mental disorders, it could happen that the person is unaware of the dosage. This accidental drug overdose could certainly be worked upon by going for firsthand information.
In a nutshell, drug overdose could be constructively dealt with, if done on time!