Drugs, alcohol and mental health
This section explains how using drugs can affect your mental health. It also sets out how you can get help to stop taking drugs if you have a mental illness. In this section, ‘drugs’ means recreational drugs, alcohol, or prescription drugs. When someone with a mental illness also uses drugs, doctors call this ‘dual diagnosis’.
- Drugs can make the symptoms of your mental illness worse.
- Some drugs may make it more likely for you to get a mental illness.
- If you have a mental illness and use drugs, doctors sometimes call this 'dual diagnosis'.
- There are many reasons why you might use drugs. Some people use them to try and deal with their symptoms. This is called 'self-medication'.
- Drugs can make your mental illness worse. They can make your illness harder to treat.
- Mental health and drug services should work together to give you the support you need.
This section covers:
- How can drugs affect my mental health?
- Which drugs can affect my mental health?
- How can I get help?
- What can I do if I have problems trying to get help?
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in January 2016. Next review January 2018.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays