Confusion as an Addiction Symptom

Confusion in itself is a symptom of multiple conditions and it is characterised by a state of disorientation, and an inability to make clear decisions. The person suffering with it is seen to be experiencing difficulty processing ordinary line of thought. When this condition is experienced mildly, and short term, it is known as confusion. In extreme cases, it is referred to as delirium. It is often accompanied by other symptomatic conditions which can make it dangerous. One of the conditions a confusion can be a symptom of is addiction to alcohol, drugs or other, not yet classified, substances.

The Symptoms of Confusion

One of the most challenging states to experience is confusion, as it seems to rid us of our natural instincts. However, even in your disorientation, it is important to try to recognise with certainty the symptoms once you begin experiencing them. This will help you, or your loved one who is experiencing it, know how to proceed. Four of the notable signs of confusion can help you identify the situation:

  • Agitation: Once a person suddenly finds themselves in a confused state, their mood shifts drastically, and usually turns to agitation. This can be seen as a defense mechanism, as the senses are heightened into anxiety. However, it is important to use caution if any of your loved ones are in this state, as they can become aggressive, and attempt to harm you.
  • Incoherent thinking and speech: In the moment of disorientation, the person will experience difficulty in processing their thought and speech.
  • The person will also have an altered state of consciousness, where they are not able to keep track of their surroundings in terms of space and time.
  • Disorientation: Merely looking at them will speak volumes about their mental and physical state, as they generally look disheveled.

The Causes of Confusion

There are a few conditions that may cause confusion in a person. Treatment will be determined by these causes. Drug abuse remains a main cause for confusion. In particular, alcoholism often leads to episodes of confusion. Other causes include head injury, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, dehydration, fatigue, kidney failure, and more.

Confusion as a Symptom of Addiction

People going through addiction often talk about periods of blackouts and confusion, happening during their days of abuse and withdrawal alike. Prolonged abuse of stimulants, alcohol, and depressants, trigger confusion and symptoms like agitation, hallucinations, lack of awareness, increased body temperature, and so on. During drug overdose, extreme confusion or delirium is also possible, which is why a doctor will always want to know the situation surrounding the incident before treatment. It is important to tell the treatment specialist what substance the person was addicted to, or overdosed on.

Once you recognise some of the symptoms of confusion mentioned above, you should immediately help your loved one get him or herself admitted to a hospital.

Seeing a Professional for Confusion

Seeing a professional is the most important action you can take, once you suspect that a loved one is showing signs of confusion. Why? It is one thing to recognise the symptoms of confusion, and another to determine the cause. If it is caused by dehydration, for example, simply drinking water can relieve the person. However, a cause like drug abuse, head injury, infection or concussion, will require the immediate attention of a professional, sometimes even emergency interventions.

But things may persist even after the intervention or if the immediate danger has passed. People who are confused are likely to exhibit some form of irrational behaviour. It could be aggressive, unpredictable, or abnormal. In these cases, it’s only wise they are kept under the watchful eye of a professional. This is to prevent them from causing any harm to people around them or even to themselves.

If trauma, or a head injury, can be traced to the state of confusion from the history of your loved one’s health (discovered through questions asked by and researched completed by the health professional), then the major cause of this symptom might be a concussion.

Whatever the case, once you notice that you, or someone close to you, is becoming regularly confused and also breathes irregularly, shivers, experiences pain in the head, has a fever, and/or has an increased heartbeat or pulse rate, then you need to get in touch with a health professional, preferably even an ER team.

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