Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Drugs, alcohol and mental health

People take drugs and drink alcohol for lots of different reasons, but they can affect you in ways you might not expect. Using drugs can trigger mental health problems, or make them worse. Long-term use can change the way people live, act and look.

Studies show that around half of all people with a mental illness have a drug or alcohol problem, but it’s difficult to know which happens first. A person with a mental illness might be more likely to abuse drugs to help ease their symptoms, while drug use can trigger the first symptoms of a mental illness.

Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse, takes its toll in other ways as well. It can affect personal relationships, cause financial stress and lead to homelessness and criminal behaviour.

People from all walks of life take drugs, and the type of drug they use can depend on socioeconomic factors such as their cultural background, where they live and what their income is.

Learn more about alcohol and other drugs such as ice (crystal meth), MDMA (ecstasy), marijuana (cannabis), cocaine, speed, ketamine, GHB, heroin and LSD, including how they might affect your mental health.

Find information about drugs, help and support services, and treatment options, on the Druginfo and National Drugs Campaign websites.

If you are caring for someone with an addiction it is also just as important to continue to look after yourself, vist the Carer GatewayCarer Gateway or call 1800 422 737 (Monday-Friday 8am-6pm) for more information.

Cocaine and mental health

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug which can have an adverse affect on the mental health of the user. Long-term use can cause depression, sleep disor...

GHB and mental health

GHB is a depressant drug that can feel like alcohol intoxication at first. Risk of overdose is very high. Not a lot is known about the long-term eff...

Heroin and mental health

Heroin users are likely to develop mental health problems. Heroin is highly addictive, but there are many treatment options available for heroin user...

Ice and mental health

Regular use of ice can lead to a condition known 'ice psychosis', making the user paranoid, aggressive and violent. It can be hard helping a friend o...

Ketamine and mental health

Ketamine is a medicine that is used illegally for its hallucinogenic effect. Regular users can develop serious mental health issues such as depressio...

LSD and mental health

LSD is a powerful drug, people who take LSD do not know if they are going to have a good trip or a bad one, or how intense the trip will be. This is ...

Marijuana and mental health

Long-term marijuana users can become reliant on the drug. If they do try to stop, they may feel anxious, irritable and angry. Long-term users are mo...

MDMA and mental health

There are mental health implications for regular users of MDMA. Coming down on MDMA leaves users feeling depressed and anxious and the hangover effec...

Speed and mental health

Speed can increase your confidence and energy, but high doses and long-term use can cause mental health problems similar to paranoid schizophrenia.

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 2734 results

Eating disorders, drug & alcohol addiction

The relationship between eating disorders and drug and alcohol addiction remains a subject of interest among many academics and health professionals. There appears to be a link between eating disorders and substance abuse, with studies revealing people experiencing an eating disorder are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse problems, and vice versa.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

QLives: The Hardest Day (Drug & Alcohol) - YouTube

This QLives film is the story of Jaxxon, who talks about his experiences with coming out as a trans man and how this place was arrived at through 'The Hardes...

Read more on QLife website

Alcohol :: SA Health

An introduction to the section on alcohol including information for people with alcohol problems, community members and health professionals

Read more on SA Health website

Problems with alcohol and drug use

People take different types of drugs and drink alcohol for many different reasons - to relax, to help them focus, to fit in, because they’re bored or curious, to escape their problems or to help them cope with overwhelming emotions.

Read more on Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders website

Key facts FASD Alcohol AOD Knowledge Centre Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe the range of mental and physical effects on the developing unborn baby that are caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Read more on Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website

Drug and alcohol services :: SA Health

Information about alcohol and other drug services available in South Australia.

Read more on SA Health website

Ageing with alcohol - ADF - Alcohol & Drug Foundation

Alcohol use at the older end of the life span receives little attention, and less is known about the factors that influence alcohol use by older people.

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

Alcohol and drugs

Drugs and alcohol change the balance of chemicals that help your brain to think, feel, create and make decisions. The drugs and alcohol you use can affect you both now and in the future. Changing drug and alcohol habits can take time, but with support and perseverance you will notice positive changes in your mental and physical wellbeing.

Read more on beyondblue website

Alcohol and medications

Alcohol can interact in harmful ways with many prescribed and over-the-counter medications, and with some herbal preparations. These interactions can change the effect of the alcohol and/or the medication.

Read more on Department of Veterans' Affairs website

Alcohol and drug use

Drug and alcohol use can both lead to, and result from, depression.

Read more on beyondblue website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo