Nodding off – Introduction
When someone is on drug abuse for a long time, they start losing control of their consciousness “nodding off“. They start floating in and out of consciousness. It becomes difficult for them to stay awake for a long period.
The addictive drug-induced drowsiness later blurs out their ability to differentiate between sleep and awareness. Therefore, it becomes difficult for many drug addicts to determine whether they are naturally falling asleep or it’s happening because of a harmful reaction and condition – “nodding off.”
“Nodding Out or Nodding Off” is one of the most severe yet avoided dangers of drug abuse. The condition is so neglected that people experiencing its signs and symptoms don’t even realize they are suffering from a hazardous condition. However, drug abuse is not the only cause of Nodding off. There are many reasons and factors that may trigger this situation that you must know.
Therefore, this blog will discuss and provide all the necessary information you must know. Here, we’ll include the following topics: –
- What is Nodding Off?
- What causes Nodding Off?
- Which drugs cause this condition?
- What is Heroin Nodding?
- What is Nodding off while standing?
- How to address Nodding off?
What is Nodding Off or Nodding Out?
Nodding off or nodding out refers to a dream-like and confused state of consciousness. The person suffering from this condition often appears to be half awake. At the same time, this person also shows signs of impaired motor coordination and lethargy.
It is a physiological response triggered due to long-term usage of sedative drugs or medication. In this condition, the individual tries to stay awake but also suffers from drowsiness. As they struggle to stay awake, their eyelids flutter and their head slumps forward.
When nodding off occurs, the person often slumps for a brief moment. They also need support to lean against. The condition indicates the enormous impact some drugs or medicines can have on someone’s body and brain.
Factors and Causes of Nodding Off
Usually, nodding off occurs as a result of the combination of many internal and external factors. However, it is crucial to know these factors to eliminate the risk of developing nodding out. Let’s discuss a few of its most common factors to understand what causes nodding off: –
Irregular Sleep or Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation and disrupted or irregular sleep patterns can confuse the Circadian rhythm of the body. It can lead to daytime sleepiness. Usually, it happens with people working in constantly changing shifts.
Some specific drugs and medications that have sedative effects can cause nodding off. After the intake of these medications, the person experiences drowsiness. It is important to be aware of the potential side effects of the medications you are taking.
Poor Sleep Quality
Having sleep for 7-9 hours and having a night of quality sleep, are two different things. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you get quality sleep at night and eliminate the factors that can impact it.
Sleep Disorder and Other Conditions
Sleep conditions like narcolepsy, insomnia, and sleep apnea contribute to nodding out. Moreover, these disorders and conditions also impact the normal sleep cycle, which leads to excessive daytime sleepiness.
Which Drugs Trigger Nodding Off?
Some specific medications have the ability to cause nodding off. These drugs make it difficult for the user to fight the urge to fall asleep. The condition can also occur as a side effect of the drug or an overdose of a medication. Sometimes, people take an overdose of the medicine accidentally. It becomes difficult for the body to handle that much amount of medication.
However, any drug related to the depressant class has the ability to cause nodding. However, the condition is mostly caused due to opioids. These drugs are derived from opium which is found in the Opium poppy plant’s seed pod. Opium is often prescribed and used to treat pain, but regular intake and overdose can lead to severe addiction.
Let’s learn about what drug makes you fall asleep standing up: –
Opiates and Opioids like hydrocodone or oxycodone, heroin, codeine, and morphine can depress the CNS – Central Nervous System. This can trigger drowsiness in an individual.
Hallucinogens like ketamine and phencyclidine often have dissociative effects. These drugs can change the perception and trigger a dream-like condition. High doses of Hallucinogens can cause extreme sleepiness and drowsiness, which can lead to nodding out or nodding off.
Tranquilizers and Sedatives
Medications like Barbiturates and Ativan have a relaxing impact on the central nervous system. These medications have sedative and tranquilizing effects that can lead to nodding off. The risk factor increases in the case of drug abuse.
Antihistamines have the qualities of a sedative. Medications like diphenhydramine and prescription sedating drugs can make one feel extremely sleepy and can cause nod-off.
Apart from the medications and drugs discussed above, there are other substances that can cause nodding off. These substances include – alcohol, muscle relaxants, and certain antidepressants. Overdose of these substances or in combination with other medications, can cause side effects like drowsiness.
However, everyone reacts to these drugs and medications differently. The effect of these medications also depends on the dosage, unique physiology, and tolerance of each person. Hence, these factors determine whether a person would nod off or how much.
What is Heroin Nodding?
Heroin is a recreational opiate. It causes an immediate “high” to the user and is often followed by the phenomena of nodding out or Heroin nodding. In this condition, the person tries to stay awake but finds it impossible to avoid drowsiness and nodding off.
No matter how hard they try, their head nods further and they find themselves drifting between the state of wakefulness and sleep until they finally sleep.
Heroin is a very powerful opioid and acts as a strong sedative. It causes deep sleep and often looks like a peaceful state. But on the contrary, nodding out can be extremely hazardous.
What are the Dangers of Heroin Nods and Nodding Out?
An overdose of drugs like Heroin can sedate the user to the point of unconsciousness. Sometimes, in order to make it more sedative, the user also mixes heroin with other drugs or substances, like painkillers, alcohol, etc.
The combined usage of these drugs or substances, can cause unconsciousness or even lead to coma.
Here are a few of the signs of a heroin user that you must know to help your loved one on time: –
- Opioids affect or depress the breathing center of the brain causing slowed breathing.
- Their skin becomes pale or can appear blue.
- They also show a lack of response to painful stimuli like pinching, etc.
- Low blood pressure or weak pulse.
- Blue lips or fingertips and shallow breathing.
If you see any of these signs, you should immediately get in touch with a doctor because the condition can worsen with time if left untreated.
Heroin Nods: Can People Die of Nodding Off?
Yes, Nodding out due to Heroin can be deadly. Often, the individual appears to be in a deep sleep. However, the body is still dealing with the effects of the drug and metabolizing it.
One of the many symptoms of drug abuse is slowed breathing. The user finds it difficult to consciously control their breathing. This is why you can see that their breathing slows down continuously.
Drugs like Heroin affect the brain stem. It makes it difficult for the user to control their breathing until the brain is completely deprived of oxygen. Lack of oxygen in the brain may lead to death.
What is the Phenomena of Nodding Off While Standing?
In this phenomenon, the person suffering from Nodding off or Nodding out experience drowsiness and fatigue, even when they are standing. The concerning point is that they don’t have any control of their consciousness. They try to stay awake at the times when it is necessary to stay alert. But it becomes challenging for them.
In this situation, the person momentarily loses consciousness and often drifts into a mild sleep even while maintaining an upright posture. Moreover, nodding off while standing can occur unexpectedly, at any time. Hence, it is not limited to any specific circumstances.
The Impact of Nodding Off While Standing
Nodding Off or Nodding Off while standing, are serious conditions that can have several consequences. The individual would not be able to focus on their work or studies which will lead to decreased productivity and embarrassment. Apart from this, nodding off while standing can also be hazardous for someone who works with heavy machinery. It can also occur while driving a vehicle and can cause loss of life.
How to Address Nodding Off?
After understanding the nodding off meaning and what causes this condition, you should also understand how to address this condition. It is important to know about the right way to deal with this situation and prevent it from getting worse.
Having a Sleep Schedule
It is essential for a person experiencing nodding out to have a fixed time to go to bed and wake up. The schedule should be maintained even on the weekends as it would regulate the internal clock of the body.
Getting Proper Sleep
You must ensure that you are getting enough sleep at night. It is important to have a quality sleep of 7-9 hours to prevent the situation.
One should also reduce the consumption of substances like caffeine and nicotine, especially during the night time.
It is important to be engaged in regular physical activities in order to improve sleep quality and give your body time to relax.
The individual should also practice stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, yoga, meditation, etc. to manage stress.
Seek Medical Advice
It is always recommended to have medical help if the individual is showing or facing any signs and symptoms of nodding off. If the situation continues to worsen even after the lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare professional.
Hence, Nodding off or nodding out is a serious condition that worsens with time. It is usually triggered or developed due to drug abuse. Drugs and medications like opioids and heroin trigger this condition.
Apart from this, an individual can also nod out due to other factors, like sleep deprivation or sleep disorders. The condition usually worsens with time. Therefore, it is crucial for an individual suffering from nodding out to maintain their sleep schedule and have quality sleep. It is also crucial to get medical help if you notice the situation getting worse.