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Alcohol or drug abuse or withdrawal and change in mental alertness

The use of alcohol or illegal drugs can cause intoxication, drunkenness, stupor, and loss of consciousness. If you are a heavy user, you may have withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking or using drugs. Depending on your drug or alcohol history, withdrawal can be quite serious.

A health professional can evaluate your symptoms and recommend treatment. Prompt treatment can prevent complications. Ongoing treatment may be necessary to help you recover from a drug or alcohol problem.

Recommended Related to Alcohol Abuse

Understanding Alcohol Abuse -- Treatment

 The goal of treatment for alcoholism is abstinence. Among alcoholics with otherwise good health, social support, and motivation, the likelihood of recovery is good. Approximately 50% to 60% remain abstinent at the end of a year's treatment and a majority of those stay dry permanently. Those with poor social support, poor motivation, or psychiatric disorders tend to relapse within a few years of treatment. For these people, success is measured by longer periods of abstinence, reduced use of alcohol,...

Read the Understanding Alcohol Abuse -- Treatment article > >

If you have swallowed, inhaled, or injected a substance that might be poisonous, call a poison control center immediately. Have the container of the substance with you so you can tell them what it is. The poison control center will tell you what to do next. If a poison control center is not available in your area, call911.

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated January 13, 2009

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 13, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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