Drugs, alcohol and mental health
This section explains how using drugs and alcohol can affect your mental health. It also explains how you can get help to stop using drugs and alcohol. In this section, ‘drugs’ means recreational drugs, alcohol, or prescription drugs. When someone with a mental illness also uses drugs, doctors call this ‘dual diagnosis’ or ‘co-occurring diagnosis’.
- There are many reasons why you might use drugs and alcohol.
- Some people use them to try and deal with their symptoms of their mental illness. This is called 'self-medication'.
- Drugs and alcohol can make the symptoms of your mental illness worse.
- Some drugs may make it more likely for you to get a mental illness, and they may make it harder to treat.
- Mental health, and drug and alcohol services should work together to give you the support you need.
- If you have any problems getting help, you could make a complaint.
This section covers:
- How can drugs affect my mental health?
- Which drugs can affect my mental health?
- How can I get help?
- What can I do if I have problems trying to get help?
- What if I am a carer, friend or relative?
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in February 2018. Next review January 2021.
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