This year marks the 20th anniversary of International Overdose Awareness Day. Since it started in 2001, it served as a way for governments and special organizations to help reduce the stigma towards drug and overdose victims.
A Global Crisis
Overdose (OD) is described as taking too much of a substance, in this case, drugs, that it becomes harmful and oftentimes, lethal. Overdosing on drugs can be deliberate or accidental. Those who accidentally overdose are because of incorrect measurements or lack of knowledge. Those who deliberately overdose are due to a number of reasons such as wanting to achieve a higher level of intoxication, mental illness or suicidal tendencies. Whatever the reason is, this issue needs to be addressed.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can help. Life can get better even after an overdose as long as proper steps are taken. When it comes to substance abuse, the earlier the signs are recognized, the better the outcome.
To help you or your loved one, here are substance abuse and overdose symptoms as well as overdose prevention tips that you should be aware of.
The Symptoms of Substance Abuse Disorder
- Mood swings and irritability
- Sudden money problems
- Rapid loss or weight gain
- Decline in work or academic performance
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Impulsive behavior
- Isolates from family and friends
- Hiding substance or paraphernalia
- Neglecting appearance and personal hygiene
- Withdrawal symptoms
Overdose Prevention Tips
1. Become Informed – Overdose prevention begins with awareness and knowing so much more than the headlines, help us become better informed not just for ourselves and our loved ones, but also for the whole community, further easing the stigma around the issue. If you’re looking for the right information and resources, then the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (NHS) has an excellent and helpful website you can refer to.
2. Do Not Mix Medications – Usually, overdose occurs because someone drank alcohol while taking a medication like benzodiazepines. Unfortunately, this can be very dangerous, as alcohol and benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants. Together, they can cause respiratory failure, which is a very critical condition. This is why medications should only be taken under supervision. It’s also recommended to safely dispose of unused and expired medications to avoid accidentally taking them. In such cases, looking up where the nearest medication disposal box is in your area is very useful.
3. Naloxone – For individuals who are at risk of an opioid overdose or relapse, naloxone is important. A life-saving medication, naloxone reverses or blocks the effects of the opioid and helps restore respiratory function in the event of an overdose. To learn more about this medication and how to use it, you can visit any health center and ask for more information.
4. Help Minimize Relapse Risk – Usually, when a person completes a treatment program, there’s still the possibility of going through a relapse, which can cause an overdose. This is why minimizing its risk is key, which you can do by helping provide a strong support network and medication-supported recovery from professionals.
Seeking Effective Treatment
Aside from these prevention tips, another way to help addiction and possible drug overdose is to immediately seek professional help. When the signs of substance abuse are present, getting help to overcome these as early as possible will make a lot of difference.
One online platform that offers this is Cerebral, a collaborative subscription-based service that provides behavioral support, traditional therapy and clinical care to all its patients. Led by mental health professionals with extensive industry experience, Cerebral’s telehealth services are perfect for patients with substance abuse problems as well as recovering addicts.
After signing up and taking a short assessment test, each patient will be matched with a care counselor or therapist, depending on their selected plan. If they’re prescribed medication, it’ll be automatically delivered monthly. By providing an accessible solution, Cerebral makes it easy for anyone with an addiction or substance abuse problem to seek effective treatment. The telehealth platform is ideal for those who are either nervous or uncomfortable with being in a room with a therapist.
Why Talking to Someone is Important
While it can be difficult for some to openly discuss mental health and problems, especially with a professional, the platform helps break down the stigma surrounding the issue, while encouraging victims to reach out to others for help.
Cerebral aims to bridge this gap by providing affordable professional telehealth services to those who need them. Through the platform, people can track their progress, get prescribed medication from a medical provider and get emotional support and therapy from a care counselor or therapist.
Cerebral offers three plans:
- Medical and Care Counseling Plan ($30 for the first month, $99 per month after)
- Therapy Plan ($99 for the first month, $259 per month after)
- Medication and Therapy Plan ($139 for the first month, $325 per month after)
Cerebral also makes its services more accessible by working with major health insurance companies and by offering an Automated Money Back Program. Cerebral is also a month-to-month commitment, giving users the freedom to cancel anytime without fees or penalties.
It’s no secret that the country is still facing a substance abuse and drug overdose problem. Cerebral is taking sizable steps in providing an easy and accessible solution to overdose victims who need it. By offering low-cost professional therapy to homes, the company seeks to decrease overdose statistics, one patient at a time.
If you wish to learn more about the platform, you may sign up and get your free assessment from Cerebral by clicking here.