Mental Health & Drugs
If you suffer from anxiety or depression using some drugs puts you at higher risk of these getting worse or you developing more serious mental health problems.
You might not realise you’re vulnerable to mental health problems and only discover this when drugs bring to the surface a problem. Someone diagnosed with schizophrenia and other serious mental illness should definitely not use street drugs. The heavier and longer your drug use, the more likely you are to have mental health problems. Serious mental illness like psychosis (not knowing what’s real and what’s not) can be the result of heavy use of some drugs.
These drugs in particular, especially heavy use of them, have been linked to mental health problems:
It’s still unclear if ecstasy increases the risk of depression or long term memory loss. It’s worth remembering that alcohol is a depressant drug, so it will make someone who’s got depression feel worse, especially if they’re a long term, heavy drinker. Check out the individual sections about these drugs for details on their possible effects on your state of mind.
Anti-depressants and street drugs
Some anti-depressants can interact dangerously with some recreational drugs (E, speed, crystal meth, acid and cocaine). They can boost levels of the street drug in the body to dangerous levels. A potentially life-threatening reaction called Serotonin Syndrome can also happen, where the brain releases too much of its ‘feel good’ chemical serotonin. Symptoms include a fast heart beat, sweating, muscle spasms, shivers, high temperature, feeling agitated, and unable to sleep. Urgent medical help is needed. If you’re prescribed anti-depressants check with a doctor about any possible interactions with recreational drugs you might take. The doctor might be able to give you a different type, one less likely to have a bad reaction with street drugs.
Other medical conditions
Your liver, kidneys, heart rate, blood pressure and circulation are parts of your body affected by street drugs. So if you have any existing medical conditions linked to these parts of the body, street drugs could put too much pressure on them. People with the conditions below should be very cautious about taking recreational drugs and discuss it with a doctor. They may be best advised to avoid them completely:
- high or low blood pressure
- heart conditions
- glaucoma (abnormal blood pressure in the eye)
- a history of stroke or seizures.
If your liver has been damaged by hepatitis (A, B or C) or you’re recovering from these, alcohol and party drugs are advised against. It’s possible that someone can have a medical condition without realising (e.g. a heart defect) until a drug-related medical emergency identifies it.