Drugs, alcohol and your mental health
There can be strong relationships between emotional/mental health and drug use. What that relationship is, isn’t always straight forward.
There is a lot said and written about drugs and mental or emotional health. Does cannabis cause schizophrenia? Does ice make you paranoid? So what’s the connection between drugs and mental health?
Generally speaking, drugs can change the way you feel (that’s why people use them!), So it makes sense that there can be strong relationships between emotional/mental health and drug use.
- Some people use drugs to feel better when they are distressed, feel down, or have mental health concerns
- Other people feel down and distressed because they use drugs or as a result of using drugs.
- Sometimes the relationship is more complex where drugs may help to relieve mental health concerns in the short term but add to them later or over time.
- For some people there is no relationship between the two.
It is also thought that some particular drugs have the potential to make existing mental health problems worse. This is thought to be the case with cannabis and people who already experience psychosis.
The relationship between your drug use and your mental health is specific to you and it is worth exploring and understanding.
Keeping an eye on your mental health, emotions, moods and feelings at the same time as your drug use can be a good way of seeing if you can find any links or patterns between the two. This worksheet is based on one created by Nexus, a dual diagnosis service in Melbourne. It’s probably best if you have a support person or worker to help you look for any patterns. See if it is useful.
Our article about understanding your use is also useful for exploring the relationship between your drug use and mental health.