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Alcohol, drugs and your mental health

Drinking alcohol responsibly is not generally a problem. But what happens if this turns into more of a daily habit? And what are you doing to your mental health if you use other substances?


The pitfalls

We all get stressed and anxious occasionally. And sometimes this can lead us to use alcohol or drugs. But doing this can make the symptoms worse. 

There’s evidence that using some drugs may cause mental health problems in the first place. For example, research has shown that cannabis can increase your chances of developing schizophrenia. 

Taking any drugs can be dangerous. They can also interact badly with prescribed medications or cause them not to work.

It may take longer for your mental health to improve if you use drugs or alcohol.

The effects

If you become tolerant to alcohol or any substance, you’ll need more of it to get the same effect. 

Dependence can lead to mood changes, a loss of motivation and a negative outlook on life. Withdrawal symptoms are distressing and unpleasant.

Behavioural changes include being secretive, stealing, doing less well at work or in education and having problems with relationships.

What you can do

If you’re worried about alcohol or substance misuse, make an appointment to see your GP. If you have an Employee Assistance Programme at your workplace, you’ll be able to get help that way, too. Give them a confidential call. 

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