Brain Damage Risks From Drug Overdose

There are several notable risks present during any kind of opioid or other drug overdose, and one of the most significant here is the possibility of brain damage. There can be both short-term and long-term effects on the brain that take place during a drug overdose, and these can be quite harmful in many cases.

At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re here to offer a wide range of drug and alcohol rehab services to people around Boise, Pocatello and nearby areas of Idaho, including opiate detox and other drug detox solutions that help to stop substance abuse issues before dangerous overdoses take place. Using opioid overdoses as our basic example, here are some of the most notable ways the brain can be damaged during overdose, and why getting help before reaching this point is vital.

Oxygen Deprivation

Perhaps the single largest risk during an overdose of any kind is oxygen deprivation, and this is particularly true with opioids. These drugs can have strong sedative properties that cause users to fall asleep or lose consciousness, and when this takes place, the body’s ability to regulate important functions like breathing can be affected severely. 

If a person falls unconscious due to an opioid overdose, they may stop breathing altogether – this can cause brain cells to die off within mere minutes due to lack of oxygen. Even if a person is still breathing but it is shallow and slow, the brain may not be receiving enough oxygen to function properly. This can lead to serious damage to brain tissue and other functions.

In fact, permanent damage to the brain can begin after just four minutes of oxygen deprivation. If a person is not resuscitated within this time frame, they may suffer from significant brain damage or even death.

Part of what makes oxygen deprivation during overdose so severe is the fact that its results will depend on which part of the brain is affected. For example, a person who suffers lack of oxygen to the part of the brain responsible for motor control may experience difficulty with movement or coordination even after they recover from the overdose. On the other hand, if the area responsible for cognitive function is damaged, this could lead to problems with memory, decision making and other higher-level thinking processes.

Toxic Buildup

Opioids and other drugs can also cause toxic buildup in the body during an overdose, leading to what’s known as a toxic brain injury. This injury happens when an input like opioids disrupts the nutrients the brain needs, changing its neurotransmitters over time and leading to damage.

Toxic brain injuries can also result from other substances that are commonly used alongside opioids, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. These combinations can cause the nervous system to shut down and lead to severe brain injury if not treated immediately.

Overdose and Intoxication Symptoms Can Look Similar

Another complicating factor in overdose scenarios is the fact that many of the symptoms associated with opioid intoxication can look very similar to those of an overdose. This includes slowed breathing, confusion, and loss of consciousness – all signs that can easily be mistaken for typical drug use.

This means that it’s important to recognize these symptoms as early as possible and seek help immediately if you suspect someone is overdosing. Without prompt intervention, a person may suffer irreversible brain damage or even death.

Possible Symptoms of Brain Damage Following Overdose

While each individual may experience different symptoms, there are a few common signs of brain damage that may occur following an overdose:

  • Memory loss or difficulty forming new memories
  • Difficulty with decision making and problem solving
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Impaired motor skills and coordination
  • Loss of sensation or numbness in certain parts of the body

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms following an overdose, it’s crucial to seek medical attention and begin the road to recovery as soon as possible.

Importance of Seeking Help

The longer a person continues to use opioids, the higher their risk of brain damage and other serious health complications. Seeking professional help before an overdose occurs can prevent these risks and provide a better chance for long-term recovery.

At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we understand the complex nature of addiction and offer personalized treatment plans to address each individual’s unique needs. Our team of medical professionals and therapists will work with you to develop a plan for detox and ongoing treatment that will help you achieve lasting sobriety, whether you’re in Boise, Pocatello or any nearby part of Idaho. Don’t wait until it’s too late – reach out to us today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.

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