Impact of Drug Use on Your Mental Health

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Drug use can have an impact on your body and life, but it can also alter your mood-when you’re high, and even when you’re not. Drug use can trigger stress or mental illness, or exacerbate already existing issues.

Stress. You might think that using certain drugs will help you relax and forget about the issues that cause stress. But long-term drug use can have a big impact on the way your brain works, and lead to increased anxiety and stress.

Depression. Feeling low after using some drugs-including alcohol-is common. You might feel depressed because of the drug itself, or because of something that happened while you were using. Sometimes people use drugs as a way to cope with their depression, but drug use can often worsen these feelings.

Mental illnesses. Although scientists generally agree that there is a link between drug use and serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that it’s still unclear whether serious drug use leads to these illnesses, or if having an illness increases a person’s chances to abuse drugs.

Getting Help.  If you’re using drugs and finding it hard to manage life and relationships, help is available. Start by talking with someone you trust, like a friend or family member, about your problem. You might also want to speak with a doctor or counselor or other mental health professional all of whom can help you get professional treatment for your drug problem. Check out the Getting help for drug use fact sheet for more info.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times.  

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