Causes and Symptoms (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Intoxication is a type of substance use disorder described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR (4th ed., 2000) by the American Psychiatric Association. Intoxication results from the consumption of substances such as alcohol, caffeine, marijuana, other illicit drugs, some mushrooms and other plants, and even over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Intoxication is diagnosed via identification of the substance in the body system and the observation of characteristic symptoms in the person affected. Specific substances do certain things to the body and therefore create certain symptoms. Tests of breath and/or urine samples often are used to detect intoxication. Additionally, simply watching the individual for psychological and behavioral signs or asking the individual to perform certain tasks can help with detection. For instance, police officers suspecting alcohol intoxication may request individuals to try to walk a straight line or to close their eyes and try to stand up straight. Such tests allow the officers to observe the person’s balance and body sway. Loss of balance or significant body sway can indicate intoxication.
Each substance has specific symptoms associated with its intoxication state. Therefore, when testing someone for intoxication, different tests may be needed to determine whether any individual substance has been used.
Alcohol intoxication is...
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Treatment and Therapy (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Intoxication is short-lived; once a substance has been processed out of the body, the effects dissipate. Treatment usually consists of a process called detoxification, often shortened to detox. Typically, this usually is done in emergency rooms or inpatient units in hospitals. Sometimes, however, it may be done in community settings where nonmedical models of intervention are practiced. In all these settings, symptoms are monitored closely as the person withdraws from the substance, as withdrawal can be dangerous. Withdrawal varies from drug to drug. It also varies depending on how long the person has used the substance and how much has been used. Severe withdrawal from certain substances, such as alcohol, can be lethal.
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Perspective and Prospects (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Intoxication for some substances is easier to identify than for others. Increasingly, methods are being developed to identify intoxication with greater ease via objective measures. For instance, technology to assess the iris of the eye to detect marijuana intoxication or the use of patches to detect substance use, such as with drugs that may be excreted in sweat, are two recent efforts.
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For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: Author, 2000.
Julien, Robert M. A Primer of Drug Action: A Concise, Nontechnical Guide to the Actions, Uses, and Side Effects of Psychoactive Drugs. 11th ed. New York: Freeman, 2008.
Weil, Andrew, and Winifred Rosen. From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs. Rev. and updated ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
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Intoxication (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A state in which a person's normal capacity to act or reason is inhibited by alcohol or drugs.
Generally, an intoxicated person is incapable of acting as an ordinary prudent and cautious person would act under similar conditions. In recognition of this factor, the law may allow intoxication to be used as a defense to certain crimes. In many jurisdictions, intoxication is a defense to specific-intent crimes. The underlying rationale is that the intoxicated individual cannot possess the requisite mental state necessary to establish the offense.
Other jurisdictions recognize it as a defense to general-intent crimes as well. For example, although rape is commonly considered a general-intent crime, there are states in which extreme intoxication may be alleged as a defense. It is unlikely, however, that the defense will be successful in such cases absent proof that the defendant was so intoxicated that he or she could not form the intent to have intercourse.
In HOMICIDE cases, intoxication is relevant to negate premeditation and deliberation necessary for first-degree murder. When the defense is successfully interposed, it will reduce a charge of first-degree murder to second-degree murder.
When a person is forced to consume an intoxicant against his or her will, the person is involuntarily intoxicated. In most jurisdictions, the...
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