Explains the mental health effects of recreational drugs, what might happen if you use recreational drugs and also have a mental health problem, and suggestions for where to find support.
If your drug use is affecting your mental health, you could:
You may feel anxious about discussing your use of recreational drugs with your doctor, but your treatment is likely to be more successful if they have all the information about your drug use.
Be honest about how you use drugs. For example, if you have psychotic symptoms, a doctor may be less likely to prescribe antipsychotic medication if they know these may have been caused by a recreational drug.
Before you start any treatment, your doctor should discuss your options with you, and take your opinions into account.
If you are seen by your local drug and alcohol service, you should be given a key worker (a doctor, nurse or drug worker) who will make a care plan with you and see you regularly.
You may be offered psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic therapy.
You and your family may be offered behavioural family intervention therapy. If you and your partner both use recreational drugs, you may also be offered behavioural couples therapy.
Medication is unlikely to help with mental health problems that are directly caused by your use of alcohol or recreational drugs. For example:
But if you were already diagnosed with a mental health problem before you started using other substances, you may be prescribed drugs to treat it.
If you are prescribed psychiatric drugs, it’s important to be careful about taking them with recreational drugs. Certain drugs may interact with each other and cause adverse effects.
If you are addicted to heroin, you are likely to be offered treatment with methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone.
This information was published in November 2016.
This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published.
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