English 5 MIN READ 71 VIEWS May 19, 2024

What are the Potential Health Risks of Drugs Overdose?

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

In today’s society, there is an emerging trend of misuse of drugs, which has become so disturbing and can result in a rise in overdose incidents. Drugs overdose happens when an individual consumes a toxic amount of drugs that surpasses the threshold a body can process. This issue poses dangers and may have long-term effects. The health risks of a drug overdose can range from acute emergencies to chronic health issues, which impact the overall health of a person and society at large. 

Here, we’ll delve into the various health risks of a drug overdose, some first signs you may experience in case of an overdose and treatment options.

Why Does an Overdose Happen?

It’s not always obvious if an overdose was unintentional or deliberate. Both may have some elements present. It’s critical to treat overdose victims with decency and care, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the incident. A drug overdose can be accidental or intentional discussed below:

Accidental Overdose: An accidental drug overdose is when a person consumes the incorrect drug or combination of substances in the incorrect dosage or timing without being aware that it could be harmful to them. This could include persons who use drugs unaware of the ingredients or strength of what they’re taking to achieve a specific desired result (such as becoming “high” or reducing negative emotions). 

Intentional Overdose: This is when a person intentionally consumes a dangerous amount of a drug or combination of drugs. This may indicate the need for more care and support and be an indication of internal, emotional, or physical suffering.

Signs of Drug Overdose

Various signs of drug overdose may occur but these signs vary from person to person. The key signs of a drug overdose include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pains 
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Problems breathing and hallucinations

How Do Drugs Affect Your Life?

Drugs overdose has an impact on many aspects of your life, including your mental and physical health, finances, relationships, social life, and criminal record. Physical consequences can differ. How a medicine affects you is determined by the drug itself, the amount of drug you take, how strong it is, and how often you take it. Also, it is determined by your body, including your gender, mood, physical size, personality, general health, etc.

Depending on the type of drug, each one has distinct physical effects. Some will awaken, alert, and energise you more while other drugs will make you feel at ease and content. Some have the power to distort reality and induce hallucinations. Other drugs can numb you. 

Larger doses and prolonged use of drugs have side effects that can be fatal or severely damage your health. These effects include the danger of infection from sharing needles and irreversible damage to your brain and other organs. 

Below are some potential health risks of drug overdose:

  1. Drug Overdose Affects your Mental Health

Taking an overdose of drugs may also impact your mental health. According to studies, using drugs raises your risk of developing mental health conditions like psychosis, depression, and anxiety. The prevalence of drug use disorders is also higher among those with mental health conditions. 

  1. Long-Term Health Issues

Drugs overdose can bring long-term health problems like liver, heart problems, kidney or even cancer. But, this depends on the type of drug one uses and the frequency of taking them. These conditions can be life-threatening. Remember, some of these problems can be reversed with good treatments, but others may be permanent. Therefore, be cautious about the amount of drug you consume and seek help in case of an overdose to prevent the long-term impacts and help in quick recovery.

  1. Severe Abdominal Pains and Cramps

Drug overdose may result in serious abdominal cramping and pains. The most affected area is usually the stomach and intestines, which results in symptoms like ulcers. In addition, drug overdose may affect the gastrointestinal process through dehydration, which in turn disrupts the ability of your body to produce saliva for food breakdown.

  1. Memory Problems

One of the most dangerous effects of a drugs overdose is memory loss. When there is an overdose, the brain may receive little or no oxygen for an extended length of time, which can result in hypoxic brain injury. The region of the brain, which is essential for the creation of memories, may be harmed by this oxygen shortage. Although memory problems can range in severity, they may include:

  • Difficulty coming up with new memories 
  • Issues with retaining memory.
  • Challenges with solving problems.

In some serious cases, the damage could be severe, resulting in long-term memory loss or permanent cognitive impairment. It is essential for people who’ve experienced drug overdose to get instant medical attention.

  1. Drug Overdose May Cause Regular Colds or Flu

Drugs overdose can indirectly increase a person’s vulnerability to infections like the flu and colds, even though viruses rather than drugs cause these illnesses. Serious health concerns can result from overdosing on some medications, particularly over-the-counter (OTC) medications. For example, overdose on medications often found in cold and flu medicines can cause symptoms that may be misinterpreted for flu-like symptoms, such as extreme exhaustion or dizziness. 

Furthermore, drug overdose can weaken your immunity, leaving the body more susceptible to illnesses like the flu and colds.

Treatment for Drugs Overdose

Even though a cure for drug addiction doesn’t exist, several treatment options are available to help one with addiction recovery and make sure a person stays drug-free. The treatment, however, depends on the kind of drug used and other related medical or health disorders you might have. The treatment for drugs overdose entails therapy sessions, self-help groups, etc.

On the other hand, those suffering from drug addiction may undergo drug rehabilitation, which involves medical treatments and psychotherapy.


Drugs overdose is a serious problem. This is true since drug overdose deaths per year have shown to be increasing recently.  It can result in mental health problems like depression or even anxiety. This can have a major effect on your whole life. Drug overdose could also result in long-term health problems like kidney problems or cancer. You may even have constant colds and flu as a result of an overdose. 

It is, therefore, advisable to take drugs or medication as prescribed by your doctor and not to take them in large doses, as this may affect your physical and mental health in general. 

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