How do drugs and alcohol affect mental health?
From taking drugs and drinking alcohol recreationally to using it for self-medication purposes, everyone has their reasons for indulging.
If using it to overcome symptoms of a mental health illness, then I would strongly not recommend it as it can make you feel worse. In fact, certain drugs can promote the deterioration of psychological illness, making an existing one more difficult to treat.
Please find below my list of the most popular drugs, including alcohol, people use to self-medicate.
According to a 2019 study 1 in 5 young people smoke cannabis on a regular basis. Smoking weed has its benefits like becoming more creative, feeling relaxed and happy, having giggles, and having munchies too. Although if you abuse this substance just like any other it can make youpotentially develop psychosis, enhance anxiety and suicidal thoughts if already experiencing from it and worst-casescenario develop mental health issues such as schizophrenia.
UK topped the charts in Europe for the most amount of young people taking Cocaine according to the EU Drugs agency in 2018.
Taking cocaine is highly addictive, especially when combining it with alcohol. Taking the white powder in the short-term makes you more confident, more talkative, and alert. In some cases, it can make people aggressive and paranoid if abused. The problem with cocaine is that you need to take it every 20-30 minutes to maintain that high, otherwise when coming down it makes you tired and even depressed.
It can also cause heart attacks and over-doses if mixed with other substances which is common for someone suffering from a mental health issue.
Many ecstasy users take it once or twice a year, however, some people take it more times than the average which can be detrimental to your mental health. When you take the “happiness” drug it produced serotonin which improves your mode. Abusing this means that your serotonin levels do not recover which can mean it takes years to recover from it.
Taking ecstasy can also make you very talkative, chatty, and confident, however, if using it to self-medicate it can affect your memory, make you depressed and even cause hallucinations depending on how much you are abusing it.
The most commonly misused drug because it is the only legal which means it is easier to access. Alcohol reduces levels of anxiety after 1 or two drinks but if continuing drinking more after that, depending on how much you drink can lead to ‘hangxiety’ the next day which is a mixture of anxiety and depression because you do not remember much from the night before.
Abusing alcohol can make you do things you would not usually do, like doing something uncharacteristic, such as harming yourself, committing suicide and it can also cause psychosis.
Courtesy of Help Guide