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Substance Abuse (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If you recognize that someone has a substance abuse problem and wants to quit, a doctor can refer him/her to community resources where he/she 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 a doctor know what drugs are being used and how they are taken. Any of the following symptoms warrant a call to the doctor:

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

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 of being sexually assaulted while under the influence
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/6/2014

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