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Substance Abuse (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If you recognize you have a substance abuse problem and want to quit, a doctor can refer you to community resources where you may receive formal diagnosis and treatment of a substance abuse problem. A doctor also may prescribe medications to control cravings and withdrawal or help manage medical complications resulting from substance abuse. Let your doctor know what drugs you use and how you take them. Call your doctor if you recognize any of the following symptoms:

  • Mild tremors or an alcohol withdrawal seizure not accompanied by hallucinations or confusion
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Increasing abdominal girth
  • Leg swelling
  • Cough that won't go away
  • Continuing feelings of sadness or depression
  • Pain at an injection site
  • Fever
  • Chest pain

If any of the following occur, call 911 or go to a hospital's emergency department immediately:

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, or lightheadedness
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Confusion or ongoing hallucinations
  • Severe tremors or recurrent seizures
  • Difficulty speaking, numbness, weakness, severe headache, visual changes, or trouble keeping balance
  • Severe pain at an injection site (may be accompanied by redness, swelling, discharge, and fever)
  • Dark, cola-colored urine
  • Any suspicion that you were sexually assaulted while under the influence

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Alcohol and Substance Abuse Evaluation »

Physicians in the emergency department (ED) regularly encounter patients seeking treatment for alcohol or substance abuse problems.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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