Drug Overdose (cont.)
A person who overdoses generally recovers completely and without lasting physical disability.
- Some drugs can cause transient damage to certain organ systems. Improvement is noted first in the hospital and then at home. However, some overdoses can cause permanent damage to certain organ systems. The liver and the kidneys are 2 organ systems at high risk.
- Brain damage resulting from suppression of lung and heart function is generally permanent.
- If the mental health problems that led to an intentional overdose are not addressed, then the person remains at risk for repetitive drug overdoses. Multiple overdoses can have a cumulative effect on some organ systems and lead to injury and organ failure. Sometimes this effect is not recognized until later in the person's life.
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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