Intentional Overdose, Psych Evaluation (Adult)

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You have been evaluated and treated for taking a drug or chemical product with the intent to harm yourself. This is called a psychiatric or "psych" evaluation. There is no sign of a toxic effect at this time. It's not likely that you will have any new symptoms. To be safe, watch for new symptoms during the next 24 hours (see below).

Symptoms will depend on the type of drug or chemical you took. An intentional overdose is likely a sign that you are depressed. Or you may be very angry with yourself or someone else.

Home care

  • If liquid charcoal was given, it will give your stools a black color for 1 to 2 days. Often a laxative is given with charcoal. This speeds the removal of any toxins from the intestines. This may cause diarrhea for up to 24 hours.

  • If you were given charcoal but no laxative, you may get constipated. If this occurs, you may take an over-the-counter laxative.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

  • If you are being sent home, follow up with your healthcare provider, clinic, or therapist. Call your provider as soon as possible.

  • If you feel the urge to harm yourself again, call 911.

  • If you were given information about a doctor, therapist, or clinic, follow up with them.

  • If you are being discharged for immediate evaluation at a psychiatric facility on a voluntary basis, you must go directly there with a responsible adult.

  • If you have been placed on a “72-hour psychiatric hold,” a ride to a facility will be arranged for you.

In the future, if you or someone you know takes something possibly harmful, call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222. The phone line is staffed 24 hours a day. If you call, you will be connected to the poison control center closest to you.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of these occur:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing, wheezing

  • Severe confusion

  • Extreme drowsiness or trouble waking up

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

  • Fast heart rate

  • Very slow heart rate

  • Very low or very high blood pressure

  • Vomiting blood, or large amounts of blood in stool

  • Seizure

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Shakiness

  • Fast breathing (over 25 breaths per minute) or slow breathing (less than 8 breaths per minute)

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Shaking chills

  • Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours

  • Belly pain

  • Dizziness or weakness

  • Thoughts of harming yourself again

To learn more

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