Drugs and mental health..... get the facts.

Drugs are a bad thing without a doubt provided they are not prescription drugs which can actually improve an illness etc as long as they are taken as prescribed. Many people do not know the facts about drugs and more importantly they do not know the affect drugs can have on your mental health as well as your physical health. 

So here are some need to know facts about drugs and your mental health:

  • Drugs such as cannabis, alcohol, ecstasy and heroin are all drugs called psychoactive. These drugs all have the ability to affect your mood, bring up certain emotions or lessen others.
  • Drugs can expose bad feeling which you never knew you had.
  • The unwanted effects of drugs can stay with you longer than expected if you already are experiencing a mental health issue which you may not have been aware of. 
  • If you are taking drugs and get the dose wrong you could permenetly damage your brain by upsetting the chemical balance.
  • You may experience something called drug-induced anxiety disorder. This can cause you to experience panic attacks.
  • You may begin to experience something called drug-induced psychosis which is where you believe things which are not true or experience hallucinations.
  • You may also experience something called drug-induced mood disorder. This may cause you to feel tired, depressed, have racing thoughts, impulsive behaviour and experience elevated moods.

There have also been studies which have shown that the use of psychoactive drugs may cause ongoing mental health problems in some people. Although it is not clear why this may happen it is thought that the drug you are using may trigger a mental illness you were not aware that you had. It may also be caused as a result of the drug chaining the way a certain chemical affects your brain function. Certain drugs may cause different mental health issues.

Here are two drugs which can cause different mental health issues:

Ecstasy and depression
"Ecstasy is an amphetamine that causes hallucinations. It works by making serotonin more available and gives you a sense of euphoria when you take it. Serotonin is a chemical naturally found in your brain which regulates your mood. It is sometimes called the ‘happy hormone’. Ecstasy causes your brain to release a much higher amount of serotonin than usual. Over time your natural stores of serotonin may drop so much that you may never have the same levels as you had before you started using drugs. If lots of serotonin means euphoria than lack of serotonin means depression. You may experience short-term depression in the days after you use ecstasy but we need more research about the long term effects."

Cannabis and schizophrenia
"Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness which may cause you to hear voices in your head and believe that other people are trying to control or harm you. Research shows a link between cannabis and people with schizophrenia. It is possible that if you have a pre-existing risk which you may not be aware of, there is a much higher chance that using cannabis will trigger an episode of schizophrenia – increasing risk by between 50% - 200%. These risks are also greater in younger people who use cannabis and those that smoke it more regularly. Using cannabis as a teenager may be a risk to many aspects of your mental health. One of the compounds is cannabis – THC (tetrahydrocannabinoid) – gets you ‘high’. THC is very similar to endocannabinoids which are naturally found in your brain. These regulate other chemicals that control many aspects of your brain function and behaviour. Because THC is so similar, it can mimic the effects of these natural compounds and take over these aspects of your brain function. The long-term effects of using cannabis in your teens may be caused by the influence of THC on your brain’s chemical systems at a time when your brain is still developing."  (drugs.ie)

I have never experiment with drugs and as I already suffer from depression it would not be a good idea for me to do so. While it is not ideal for anybody to experiment with drugs people do and people become addicted. it is hard to give up an addiction but it is possible. While my addiction was with self-harm I am aware it is different from a drug addiction but I managed to overcome it and so can you. Any addiction is possible to overcome be it alcohol, drugs, self harm or anything else it is possible. 

If you are contemplating taking drugs and have not yet done so I would urge you to read over this post to ensure you get the facts about drugs and your mental health but I would also urge you to visit www.drugs.ie to find out more about the affect drugs can have on you. So please think before you act!!

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sadie said...

A great book to get a deeper understanding of drugs is by David Nutt called drugs without the hot air. Recommended for parents and teenagers. Gives a different view on illicit drugs. Enjoyed reading your blog and best of luck with your LC.

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