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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.

You can also visit Head to Health, an online gateway funded by the Australian Government that can help you find free and low-cost, trusted phone and online mental health resources, including information about drugs, alcohol, and other substance-related or addictive disorders.

If you are caring for someone with an addiction it is also just as important to continue to look after yourself, visit the Carer 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 (acid) 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 (ecstasy) 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.

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