When Is Immediate Medical Care Needed For Substance Abuse?

Anyone who has a substance abuse problem needs treatment, but there are times when immediate emergency treatment is required to prevent permanent injury or even death. Knowing when to call 911 can help save your own or a loved ones life. Many individuals are hesitant to admit that there is a problem with drugs or alcohol, but any delay in getting medical care could be fatal if the following symptoms are experienced:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Thoughts of hurting others
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Severe pain in the abdomen
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling lightheaded or experiencing dizziness that is severe or does not go away quickly
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe confusion
  • Seizures
  • Tremors that do not go away
  • When sexual assault is suspected
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the extremities
  • A headache that is severe
  • Problems maintaining balance
  • Difficulty speaking or finding the right word consistently
  • Urine that is dark brown or that contains blood
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Infection of an injection site- This can include severe pain, redness, swelling, discharge from the wound, and fever.

If you or anyone you know has a problem with alcohol or drugs and any of these symptoms appear then it should be considered a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. Strokes, heart attacks, and many other serious or even fatal complications can occur, and quick medical care can mean the difference between a full recovery and permanent damage or even death. Severe swelling, a yellowing of the skin or eyes, and a cough that does not go away over time may also be serious and should be evaluated by a physician as well.

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