Drug overdose can happen to anyone, both children and adults. A person can experience an overdose when he takes the drug in excess of the dose recommended by the doctor or does not follow the instructions for use listed on the drug packaging, either intentionally or not.
Overdose or drug poisoning can occur intentionally, for example due to drug addiction or attempted suicide, but it can also be unintentional. For example, an accidental overdose can occur in an elderly person who swallows the wrong medication or takes too much medication.
In addition, children or toddlers can also be very at risk of overdose. Usually this happens because they accidentally ingest nearby medicines that are not stored properly or within their reach.
Overdose symptoms that appear in each person can vary, depending on the type and amount of drugs consumed, drug interactions, and their previous medical history. In severe cases, the effects of an overdose can be very dangerous for the body, ranging from damaging organs to causing death.
Various Ways to Prevent Overdose
In order to be used safely and effectively, each drug has its own dosage range and maximum dose limit. This has been calculated based on several factors, such as the user's age and weight. When a drug is taken in excess of a level that can be accepted by the body, an overdose can occur.
Therefore, to prevent overdose, you should not take drugs carelessly or without doctor's advice, especially if the drug is not an over-the-counter drug. However, there are also several other things that need to be considered to prevent overdose or drug poisoning, namely:
1. Take medication accordingly instructions for use
One of the important things to do to prevent an overdose is to take the drug according to the instructions for use. When consuming over-the-counter drugs, read and pay attention to the label on the packaging of the drug to be taken and use the right measuring device.
Also, avoid mixing any medications without asking your doctor first and never trying to take medications that are prescribed to someone else. You are also not recommended to take drugs with drinks other than water, such as herbal teas, coffee, alcoholic beverages, or herbal medicines.
2. Thorough in checking drugs before consumption
Before taking any medicine, make sure you always check the integrity of the medicine package, read the package to find out the type and dosage of medicine, check the expiration date of the medicine, and check the quality of the medicine to make sure the smell, color, and shape have not changed.
3. Keep medicines out of reach of children
Drug overdose or accidental drug poisoning is one of the leading causes of death in children, especially under 5 years of age. Therefore, if you have children at home, make sure all medicines are stored in a special safe, locked and out of reach of children.
4. Be careful when giving medicine to special groups
If you have an elderly family member or an adult with a psychiatric disorder, such as depression or schizophrenia, you need to be careful when administering your medication. So that they are prevented from overdose, supervise every time they take medicine.
If possible, you can sort your medication into small containers and label them to indicate when you took them. Some medicine containers are also equipped with alarms as a reminder of the time to take medicine.
Overdose also often occurs in people who frequently use illegal drugs. Therefore, the best way to prevent overdose in this group is to stop using it.
If you have been using drugs frequently and find it difficult to stop, you should ask your doctor for help, so that this problem can be resolved and you are prevented from overdose.
Symptoms of an overdose and what to do when you experience it
As mentioned above, the symptoms of an overdose can vary, depending on the type and amount of medication taken, as well as previous medical history. However, in general, an overdose can cause the following symptoms:
- Digestive disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Stomach ache
- Chest pain
- Dizziness and headache
- Psychological changes, such as restlessness, anxiety, and hallucinations
- Visual disturbance
- A cold sweat
- Pale face and skin
- Body shaking (tremor)
- Loss of consciousness or coma
If you or someone close to you shows signs of a drug overdose, seek medical attention immediately. It is important to do this, so that doctors can provide proper treatment and prevent adverse effects or even death from overdose.
When to the doctor, bring the drug or drug packaging suspected to be the cause of the overdose. This can be very helpful for doctors to determine the type of drug that is causing the patient's overdose. Thus, the doctor may also be able to provide an antidote (antidote) to treat an overdose.