Drugs, alcohol, nicotine, solvents and even food can start as ‘props’ to help you get through difficult times. But the feelings of relief are only temporary and, as the problems don’t disappear, you may use more and more of these substances and risk becoming dependent on them, which in itself creates new problems.

Some people may already be suffering with a mental health problem (depression, anxiety, Schizophrenia) and seek to use drugs or alcohol to “self-medicate”, however this can often make the problem worse and they find they need to use more of the drug to temporarily improve their mood. This means that people can use illicit drugs to help them manage their mood and how they are coping and feeling.

Substances like cocaine, crack and speed can result in people feeling low or depressed due to the effects they have on the brain. Long term use of drugs can cause depression, anxiety and even psychosis.

Alcohol can provide a short term “fix” for people experiencing depression or anxiety, however overtime alcohol can have the opposite effect and they require more and more of the substance to get the same effect.

If you are worried about your mental health, speak to your GP, or if you are working with a mental health recovery service talk to your care-coordinator.

Mood self-assessment

We can all feel low, anxious or panicky from time to time. Check your mood using the mood self assessment tool on the NHS website and get advice on what might help.