Overdoses Change You: For Better or For Worse?

man hugging woman

You’ve heard it described in different ways. There’s a statistical chance you’ve experienced it. Some say they can hear their brains powering off and witness their bodies dying. Others say they float in the corner of the room, watching their bodies from afar as their souls have left. According to the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, “Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%.” Not every overdose results in death. Many come back for a second, third, fourth, or multiple times chance at life. Experiencing temporary death or a close interaction with it can leave a permanent mark.

Near death experiences have been studied within a range of scientific disciplines. From psychology to neurology, scientists are fascinated by the before, during, and after effects of a near death experience. A universal experience of near death involves two scenarios: the floating in the corner of the room or seeing the body from above scenario and witnessing the ubiquitous “light at the end of the tunnel” scenario. Science has an answer for both. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, writes NDE survivor JR Thorpe, “appears to be a product of restricted oxygen flow to the eye.” As a whole, out of body experiences “seem to involve confusion in the right temporoparietal junction in the brain; stress hormones released in a traumatic moment may stimulate emotional memories…” Many feel that these near death experiences have a spiritual component and end up in spiritual transformation. One bad overdose that results in one good spiritual experience is not always enough to convince someone to get sober.

There are after effects of a near death experience through overdose that can last. Recovering addicts and alcoholics have recalled waking up from an overdose and wondering why they were still alive. Referred to as “survivor’s guilt”, some feel burdened by what they have woken up to when they rise from their overdose. Still addicted, still in pain, still lost, they are left to reconcile with the life they left for a period of time. An idea of deservedness makes survivor’s guilt conflicting for alcoholics and addicts. Believing they deserved to die, it is hard for them to understand why they didn’t. The shame and stigma that surrounds the illnesses of alcoholism and addiction contribute to this negative effect of an overdose.

Avalon By The Sea provides detox and treatment for addicts and alcoholics seeking recovery. Certified for dual diagnosis treatment, Avalon is able to provide comprehensive treatment by concurrently treating co-occurring mental health disorders. For a confidential assessment and more information about our programs, call 1-855-464-8492.

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