18.1.07

Teh Overdose: Drugs and poisons that you shouldn't kill yourself with

Disclaimer: Yes, this post is pretty tasteless. However, it should be noted that I am in no way condoning suicide with this post. I am, in fact, merely pointing out why overdosing on the following compounds is a really bad idea.

Acetaminophen
Also commonly known as paracetamol and Tylenol, is the most common cause of intentional self-poisoning in adults in many countries on account of it being widely available and cheap. What doesn't appear to be well known is that it is selectively toxic to the liver and kidneys, meaning that even if you take enough to destroy these organs, it can still take up to two weeks to actually die. The pain is excruciating.

Paraquat
A bipyridylium herbicide found in many weed control products (e.g. Gramoxone), if ingested in sufficiently large quantities it will cause multisystem organ failure with death occurring within hours to a few days. However, should you fail to drink enough of it, it will selectively accumulate and persist in your lungs and slowly eat away at them while you spend several weeks gasping for breath in terrible pain before you expire. There is currently no antidote, and even people who manage to get lung transplants find that their new lungs are eventually destroyed as well, since the poison also hangs out in the fat surrounding them.

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
In overdose, these drugs (amitriptyline, imipramine, desipramine, etc.) make you very ill. You got your cardiac toxicity (arrhythmias are the usual cause of death), neutoxicity (seizures), and hypotension. Plus a whole lots of anticholinergic effects going on. Not a peaceful way to go.

Bleach/Lye
Being strongly acidic or strongly alkaline, will corrode anything organic, including your mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Then all of your stomach acid will escape into the trunk of your body, dissolving your internal organs. That doesn't sound painful at all, does it?

Strychnine
As was discussed previously, a painful and terrifying way to die. You remain fully conscious and coherent as you experience repeated bouts of violent convulsions until your breathing eventually stops and you asphyxiate.

11 chemically inspired comments:

John said...

Hi, is there any chance you can use CSS classes instead of inline CSS for your articles? Bits like span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 102);" really mess up in feed aggregators, which would ignore a missing CSS class but instead render the text as yellow on white.

CND said...

Hey. I'm definitely a science-first, web programmer-second kind of guy, but I'll see what I can do. I've been letting Blogger do everything, but I guess I'll have to delve into the code and fix it up.

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority (friend who works in a hospital) that the treatment for tylnol overdose a) tastes like a liquid fart, and b) they WILL make you drink it.

CND said...

Gross! I need to make more doctor/nurse/EMT friends so I can find out stuff like this.

Anonymous said...

How about oxygen for Paraquat?? Just kidding!!

Mama Mia said...

Yes. I've wanted to write this post for months! Thanks for doing it for me!

Anonymous said...

my ex-boyfriend's grandpa invented paraquat and diquat.

Anonymous said...

So You're my grandson's ex-girlfriend! He said you were pretty hot. Yes, I did invent paraquat. AND diquat. Diquat was my favorite, but it was upstaged by that lousy paraquat.

Anonymous said...

well hi my name is jasmine handley and you have agreat life ahead of you so why try and kill your self with poison so dont okay if any questions just contact me @ jazzyboo_jazzy14@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Hi

Anonymous said...

I've tried overdosing several times & amost got it right the last time. After taking countless prescription meds. to OD on I experienced not just drowsiness,lack of motor-control,but frightening heart & breathing problems before losing conciousness. When I've been hospitalized, having charcoal forced into you, constantly having to throwup, having your stomach pumped all are horrible. What's worse is how people, even professionals, treat you after a suicide attempt/s & how mentally ill are treated by society as a whole! Having to endure mental-wards until you're deemed sane & safe enough to be released is no fun.
It's particulary pathetic when one fails at both Life & Death!