Watching a loved one fall victim to the never-ending cycle of drug abuse and dependency is heartbreaking. You want them to find help and get better but they may not be ready to accept the help, so you fret every day about the possibility of them overdosing. If you are with a friend or family member that is using, are you aware of which signs to keep an eye on? Sometimes, the signs are clear; other times, not so much. If you see any of these five signs of overdose, call 911 immediately and get the medical attention your loved one needs and that could save their life.

Defining an Overdose

When someone is ingesting drugs, there can be a wide range of behaviors and symptoms that occur as a result. They may have physical, psychological, or social impairments. When they take too much for their body to handle, they can face toxicity and even death. These responses are part of what is considered an overdose. A keen eye that has a bit of knowledge about what an overdose may look like, could notice some warnings signs, and jump into action to help those who are in distress.

Signs of an Overdose

Look Out for these 5 Signs of Drug Overdose
  1. Slowed breathing, a lethargic pulse, and a dull heart rate will be serious signals that things are not going smoothly. When an individual has taken too many opioids, a struggle to breathe, intense weakness, and being completely “out of it” are going to be red flags.
  2. Seizures are never a sign of good health. If you see your loved one experiencing any symptoms of seizures while intoxicated, seek help for them. Heroin, cocaine, and even alcohol can cause an individual to have seizures. Some symptoms include confusion, staring blankly, jerky and spastic movements, and even loss of consciousness.
  3. Nausea, severe stomach pains, physical uncontrolled vomiting, intense head pains, or even imbalance issues can be early indicators of a potential problem. While these aren’t always unconditionally an indication of an overdose, they aren’t symptoms to be taken lightly. Never let your loved one alone when in a state where they are experiencing these symptoms.
  4. If you see hues of blue tinge in the skin or nail beds or a bluish look to the lips, this is an indication of inadequate oxygen levels in the blood. The body needs oxygen; if it doesn’t have enough, the individual is literally being suffocated, which could quickly spell fatal results. Additionally, if all one’s color drains from their face and they have a clammy like appearance, this is another visible indicator that there could be major problems occurring.
  5. Loss of consciousness is a direct indicator of overdose. If there are efforts made to help an individual come to and they aren’t responding (pounding on a chest, cold water, etc.), their central nervous system has been compromised.

Surviving an Overdose and Moving Forward

In many cases, those that are able to survive the occurrence of an overdose do so because of the help of a loved one who was present, proactive, and concerned. After coming through such an ordeal, eyes may be opened and they may be accepting of the need for help. The process towards healing and recovery will get easier after you take the first step to reach for help.

Discovery Place can be that helping hand that will pull you up and out of the depths of disaster. Our treatment program is located in the serene and peaceful countryside of Tennesee. You don’t have to go the arduous journey alone, and seeking help means you have an inner strength to love yourself and help yourself. Through our many programs, you will come out on the other side and experience life again with a more positive, meaningful, and fulfilling perspective.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
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