HOW IS OVERDOSE DEFINED?
- May 29, 2020
So how is overdose defined? Here is what you need to know.
How is Overdose Defined?
Okay, so how is overdose defined? An overdose is the biological response the human body has when it receives too much of a substance, or a mixture of substances. An overdose can be intentional or accidental. People can overdose on alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, and various other substances. Unfortunately in many cases, overdoses lead to death, though most individuals who have overdosed can be saved if medical treatment is administered fast enough. In terms of drugs, there are a few different ways your body can become overwhelmed by substances.
Depressants that affect the central nervous system include benzodiazepines, opioids, and alcohol. Drugs that are CNS depressants will lower body temperature and blood pressure, which decrease the heart rate and breathing. This is why these drugs cause sedative effects, which result in reduced anxiety and increased calmness and euphoria. When a dosage that is too high is taken, it can cause adverse side effects; these can include respiratory failure, overdose, coma, or even death.
Opioids are one of the easiest substances to overdose on, given how they function once consumed. The human body has opioid receptors in several different areas, including the brain, peripheral and central nervous systems, and the gastrointestinal tract. When someone uses an opioid, these receptors are activated and slow the body down. When the body becomes overwhelmed by opioids, all of these receptors are blocked, and it fails to perform other functions.
An alcohol overdose happens when you drink more alcohol than your body can safely process. Generally, the body can safely process around one unit of pure alcohol per hour (estimated to be the amount of alcohol in a small shot of liquor, a half pint of beer, or a third of a glass of wine). If an individual consumes more alcohol than this in a shorter span of time, the alcohol accumulates within the body due to it being unable to metabolize the alcohol fast enough, and it spreads throughout the body. This may lead to an alcohol overdose, also known as alcohol poisoning. Hopefully this answered your question of how is overdose defined?
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