Stimulant medications, including amphetamines and prescription stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin, are commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other conditions. However, when taken in large amounts or in combination with other substances, stimulants can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Here are eight signs of stimulant overdose that you should be aware of.
Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
Stimulants can increase heart rate and blood pressure, and in large amounts, they can cause these vital signs to become dangerously high. If you accidentally took too much Adderall or other stimulants, you may experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Agitation and Irritability
Stimulants can cause mood changes and can make individuals feel anxious, irritable, or agitated. If someone who has taken stimulants is experiencing extreme mood changes or behaving in an aggressive or agitated manner, it could be a sign of an overdose.
Chest Pain and Difficulty Breathing
Stimulants can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing, which can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. If someone is experiencing chest pain or difficulty breathing after taking stimulants, it is important to seek medical attention in order to prevent a heart condition from becoming worse. It is possible to take medications that slow down the heart to a normal rate before a heart attack occurs.
Seizures, a condition characterized by uncontrolled muscle contractions and loss of consciousness, can be a sign of a serious stimulant overdose. Treating both the seizure and the overdose are important steps for making a recovery.
In rare cases, stimulant overdose can cause psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. If someone who has taken stimulants is experiencing these symptoms, it is possible that he or she has overdosed.
Loss of Consciousness
Stimulants usually result in increased energy or hyperactivity. Therefore, loss of consciousness can be a sign of an overdose because it indicates that the central nervous system is shutting down. This sign requires immediate medical intervention.
Headache or Dizziness
Headache and dizziness can sometimes occur as side effects of stimulant use, but severe or persistent symptoms may indicate an overdose. Medications can help to reduce these symptoms, but they will not correct the stimulant overdose. It is important to seek medical attention for these complaints if stimulant overdose is a possibility, even if the headache or dizziness has subsided.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting may occur as a result of the body’s reaction to the increased activity caused by the drug, or as a result of other complications related to the overdose. Do not suppress vomiting through medications or other means, as your body may be trying to expel the stimulants. If the person is unconscious, turn him or her onto his or her side to avoid risk of choking.
Stimulant overdose can be life-threatening or can have long-term health consequences. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms after taking stimulants, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.