Drug Overdose Treatment at Home

drug overdose treatment at home

How to Treat Overdose at Home

Any drug overdose, no matter the specific drug, is always a medical emergency. When an overdose occurs, a swift response is essential as drug overdoses can be life-threatening.

For some people, the idea of going to a facility may not be acceptable. Things such as privacy issues or fear of the stigma that is associated with drug and alcohol abuse. For these individuals, drug overdose treatment at home is an excellent option.

A private detox nurse can be dispatched quickly to intervene in a drug overdose within the comfort and privacy of the home setting. A private nurse works closely with a medical doctor trained in addiction medicine to rapidly dispense life-saving medications and treatments. When needed, the nurse, trained in detox and withdrawal, can guide the individual through the detox process as well.

Drug overdose treatment at home can make the difference between getting the necessary medical attention or not. When considering the possibility of being admitted to a hospital, some prefer to take their chances and endure the overdose rather than jeopardize their reputation. This can result in loss of life. The at-home drug overdose interventions offer total privacy as well as quality medical treatment.

About Drug or Alcohol Overdose

An overdose occurs when someone consumes more of a substance than the body can safely metabolize. The psychological effects that occur from overdose will vary based on the substance involved, as well as other factors.

Drug overdoses have dominated the national news for several years now, usually involving opioid prescription drugs or heroin. More than 70,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2017, according to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control. However, every year there are overdose deaths associated with a wide range of substances, including:

  • 17,000 deaths involving prescription opioids
  • 15,000 deaths involving heroin
  • 11,000 deaths involving benzos
  • 5,000 deaths involving meth
  • 2,200 deaths involving alcohol poisoning or binge drinking

Many reasons why individuals may overdose on a substance including:

  • being careless about the dosage
  • using drugs after a period of abstinence
  • accidental, or intentional overdose (suicide).

Overdose risk factor increases when the substance is obtained on the street or online, as the contents of the drug may not be known.

Heroin and illicit sources for prescription medications have been found to contain fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid. Safe practices dictate that excess prescription pills should be disposed of, versus being stored in the family medicine cabinet where they might be abused.

Signs of an Overdose

When an overdose occurs the individual will be in obvious distress. Medical attention on time is essential, whether it is treatment received at home or in a hospital setting, as time is of the essence. Signs of a drug or alcohol overdose might include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Mental confusion
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular vital signs, either increased or decreased pulse rate, temperature, blood pressure, or heart rate
  • Coma

Do not leave the individual unattended; instead, take the necessary steps to obtain essential treatment. For intentional overdoses, the individual will require psychiatric intervention. In an opioid overdose, a first responder carries a drug called naloxone, which, if given quickly, can revive the person.

Drug Overdose Treatment at Home

Individuals or their loved ones who opt for in-home overdose treatment will be closely monitored as support is provided.

Family members can provide important information to the private nursing team, such as if there is a history of addiction or chemical dependence, what prescription drugs the individual is on, and the person’s doctor’s contact information.

An assessment will determine the extent of potential poisoning. Lab tests will show how the substance affects organs, often alongside a drug screening. Drug overdose treatment may involve:

  • Gastric lavage, or stomach pumping, will remove any unabsorbed substances from the stomach
  • Activated charcoal treatment, which reduces the amount of the substance that could be absorbed in the stomach and digestive tract
  • Sedatives or restraints, the individual is violent or agitated, posing a danger to self or others
  • Antidote medications can help reverse the effects of the overdosed substance.
  • IV fluids, vitamins, or glucose in case of alcohol poisoning
  • Oxygen therapy

These interventions are performed as needed to prevent loss of life and to assist the individual through the healing process that follows.

Getting Help for a Substance Use Disorder

After someone experiences a drug overdose the experience is likely to motivate them to get professional help for overcoming a substance use disorder. For individuals who value their privacy, an in-home detox nursing team can guide him or her through the stages of detox and withdrawal, allowing them to stay in their own living space during this important step.

Following the completion of the detox phase of recovery, case management services will provide referrals to either outpatient or residential treatment. Though skipping this crucial step after completing detox may be tempting, it constitutes a serious mistake.

Addiction behavior patterns are addressed through various therapeutic elements, which help the individual establish new healthy thought and behavior patterns, acquire new coping skills, create a relapse prevention plan, and dial into a recovery community.

In addition, some individuals may benefit from medication-assisted treatment, which is monitored within the construct of a formal addiction program and aftercare services.

At Home Detox and Withdrawal

Once the individual is out of immediate danger the focus will begin to shift toward detox and treatment. The first step in recovery is the detox and withdrawal phase. Which can last one to two weeks depending on the substance of abuse and the acuity of the substance use disorder.

An in-home detox nurse can provide medical and psychological support while assisting the individual through the withdrawal symptoms. Vital signs are monitored and forwarded daily to the physician in charge. Medical interventions help minimize pain and discomfort during the detox process. Medications used might include benzos, mood stabilizers, opioid antagonists, opioid agonists, non-opioid agonists, and over-the-counter medications.

Withdrawal symptoms will vary based on several factors, including:

  • Substance of abuse
  • Length of addiction history
  • Usual levels of consumption
  • General health status
  • Age
  • Presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder

Some common withdrawal symptoms include:

Withdrawal Symptoms from Drinking Alcohol

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shakiness
  • Headache
  • Feeling irritable
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Hand tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures


  • Muscle pain
  • Nightmares
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Clammy skin
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive hunger or loss of appetite
  • Shakiness
  • Congestion
  • Watery eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Stomach cramps
  • Hallucinate
  • Severe anxiety
  • Depression


  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Irritable
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Tremors
  • Excessive sensitivity to stimuli
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Detachment
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Racing pulse
  • Blurred vision
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Grand mal seizures

In-home detox can provide the supervision and expertise to manage withdrawal symptoms as they arise. Delirium tremens can emerge during alcohol detox, the individual will be provided with emergency services.

At-Home Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Addiction recovery relies heavily on a multi-modal approach to making fundamental changes in the way one thinks and responds to triggering situations. Treatment is available in either an outpatient or residential setting. Outpatient settings offer greater flexibility, enabling individuals to maintain their work and home life while undergoing treatment for a specified number of hours each week.

Residential treatment involves 24-hour supervision and therapeutic support. Generally, individuals with an opioid use disorder or a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder will benefit from a residential setting.

Treatment elements include:

  • Psycho therapy. Individual therapy sessions help to process and heal underlying issues that may be factors in the addiction behaviors. Moreover, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help individuals adapt their responses to stressors or triggers, establishing essential skills for recovery.
  • Support Groups. Support groups help people by providing peer support and encouraging active participation in their treatment. Group sessions involve a small number of participants led by a clinician who will encourage sharing and supportive behaviors.
  • Medication. Certain individuals find relief through medications for a co-occurring mental health disorder. By managing the symptoms of the disorder through medications such as mood enhancers, addiction treatment is more effective.
  • Holistic complementary activities. Given that stress is a major contributor to relapse, modern addiction treatment integrates relaxation techniques. Learning how to manage stress and induce relaxation is an important coping skill.
  • Recovery Participation. Participation in local recovery meetings such as A.A. can encourage social support and accountability.

While a drug overdose is a serious incident, it is also an opportunity to address the dangers of addiction and commit to a new life in recovery.

Kinkaid Private Care Drug Overdose Treatment at Home

Kinkaid Private Care provides expert at-home private nursing support for individuals who have suffered a drug or alcohol overdose. Our private nurses are trained in addiction recovery and work under the supervision of a physician who monitors the treatment from beginning to end. If you are ready to begin the recovery process and want to complete detox and withdrawal in the privacy of your home, contact us today

For more information, please visit our homepage and learn about the array of services we provide. These services include at-home IV Vitamin Therapy, in-home nursing care, and the coordination of a variety of at-home medical services in the Los Angeles area, as well as home detox services all over the state of California.


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