Drug Abuse and Mental Health

To be honest, lots of people take recreational drugs and most of them are fine.

Their brains might definitely act in weird ways while the drugs are doing their thing, but after they wear off, they are completely normal. But,  while we are being honest, even fans of drugs have to admit there are risks, big risks.  Substance users sometimes experience ‘bad trips’ and other side effects, contaminated drugs, accidents, infections, reputation and employment hassles, trouble with the law and so on. And that’s even before we start on what it might be doing to a user’s mental health.

If we have mental health issues, here are some things to consider:

1. Drug use usually makes mental health problems worse. It can trigger really bad episodes.

2. It can interfere with the effectiveness of medication and therapies.

3. Addiction and dependence are mental health issues in themselves. It can hijack a person’s life-story and ruin our relationships, career and health.

4. No-one knows if their recreational drug use will turn into an addiction: it seems to depend on genetics more than character and will power. Other people might be fine with drugs but we might discover we have predisposition that locks us in to a terrible habit. You never know until it happens.

5. Drugs can interfere with our ability to work, exercise and socialize – three things proven to improve mental health.

6.  Yes: some evidence suggests cannabis might relieve some mental health problems, but it would be best to get your advice from mental health professionals rather than from a drug dealer! There is probably more evidence pointing to dope having a negative impact, especially on young developing brains.

7. We might be using drugs because we are lonely, bored and frustrated and we need a bit of fun in our life. Mental health problems do often make it more difficult to be involved in sports and social activities, but with bit of help, especially from support workers, we might be amazed at what we could do.

8. Drugs cause their own problems (and haven’t you got enough problems already?)

9. They often make us feel tired and depressed as we come off a high.

10. They cost a huge amount of money

11. Drug use often results in us interacting with other drug users and dealers.  Their influence might be antisocial, and they are sometimes violent and criminal.

12. We might find quitting drugs really hard. Therapy, support groups and some prescribed medication can sometimes help us through the tougher stages.

If we are serious about getting a life worth living and rising above mental ill-health, we should do ourselves a favour and leave drugs behind.