Wellbeing and self-help
Drugs, alcohol and mental health
It’s a question of time!
So, what’s an effect of drugs and what’s a mental health problem? In one way it’s not always easy to tell. Some drugs like cannabis, cocaine, MDMA (and others) can make you feel great or really relaxed which is why you might take them! But depending on the strength or what else they’re mixed with, they can also make you feel paranoid and worried, they can give you panic attacks and some people get weird perceptions like feeling, seeing, tasting or smelling strange things.
Getting weird perceptions like feeling, seeing, tasting or smelling strange things are all normal parts of drug taking
These are all normal parts of drug-taking BUT if you’re still feeling these things a week or two after you last took drugs – there’s probably something else going on.
If this is the case, try talking to someone you trust and then getting some professional advice. There’s lots of ways you can do this, and it really does help!
This was about, well was three years ago I… for two months I’d been, going through shit and I thought it was just like a come down off drugs or something but then I thought oh it’s lasting a bit too long, yeah.Chloe, aged 19
Telling what’s an effect of drugs and what’s a mental health problem is a bit trickier if you’re out of it all the time.
It’s impossible to tell then, what’s the drugs and what’s a real problem. The only way to check it out for sure is to give yourself a break, and it might also help you fix the problem yourself! After all, alcohol and drugs can make you feel great, but they can also make you feel depressed, anxious, suspicious, paranoid and panicky.
If you drink or take drugs, you’ll remember a really bad hangover or come down. It’s not something you’re likely to forget… and it’s not just physical, it messes with your head too!
The effects of alcohol and drugs aren't just physical - they mess with your head too!
Try taking a complete break from all drugs and alcohol for at least a week or two. If the problem goes away, then it’s probably an effect of the drugs and alcohol, (you might want to cut it down a bit but that’s up to you!).
If the problem’s still there a week or two later, when you’ve not been taking anything, then it’s probably more than just the drugs (you might want to talk to someone you trust and then a professional).
If you can’t stop, don’t panic – talk to someone you trust, a professional or ‘talk to frank’. Even if you stop for two weeks and don’t have a problem, you can still develop one, so be careful!
They do warn you about drugs, but they don’t warn you about the effects it can cause you. They give the effects on your body, but they don’t tell you about the effects mentally, they don’t explain nothing about it, do you know what I mean. When I was learning about drug use at school, I didn’t really realise that it could cause mental illness as much as it has done to me. I think you sort of hear about it, but you think ‘oh yeah… mental illness… it’s not gonna affect me…Jamie, aged 19
Click here to find out about the impact cannabis use can have on your life and mental health. Follow the techniques and watch the videos to help minimise your cannabis use.
- Cannabis and Mental Health
- The impact cannabis may have on your life
- Weighing up
- Personal Hazards
Read more: Drugs and alcohol support