How can drugs and alcohol impact your mental health?
Every drug changes the way our body and mind work in some way. Some drugs wake you up and make you want to party (stimulants) and others relax you or make you forget things (depressants). This means that some people may use drugs for different reasons. For example, to feel relief from pain, to feel energetic or to feel relaxed and calm. Some people use drugs and alcohol to block out difficult emotions or to make themselves feel better.
By using drugs or alcohol to deal with difficulties, it’s likely to become a problem that could seriously affect your life. If you’re worried about your drug or alcohol use, talk to someone you trust about it.
How to use safely - top tips for staying safe
If you are planning to drink or use drugs, try to stay safe.
- Start low and go slow
Pace yourself when drinking alcohol to minimise the risk of overdose. Drinking a large amount of alcohol can be just as risky as drinking alcohol daily.
- Avoid mixing drugs and alcohol
Mixing drugs and alcohol can have unpredictable side effects and put additional strain on your organs.
- Know what you are taking
Make sure you know the dose and possible side effects of drugs before taking them.
- Make sure someone is there to look out for you
If you are using alone, tell someone where you are and what you are doing, or make sure you have a friend who isn’t drinking or using drugs if you are using in a group. It will mean someone can help if it goes wrong.
- Keep hydrated
Aim to sip a pint of water over an hour, particularly if you are dancing.
- Protect yourself
If someone you don’t know well is offering you free drink or drugs, ask yourself what they might want in return. Know the risks and how to stay safe.