People use alcohol and other drugs to change the way they feel. And they do change the way you feel – but often for the worse, which is not good news if you have a mental illness. For example, alcohol, which is often used to relieve anxiety and depression, can actually make both conditions worse.

Some drugs may trigger mental illness. Cannabis can cause a first episode of schizophrenia in someone who’s at risk of psychotic illness. Ice can cause psychosis, while steroids can trigger paranoia.

Alcohol and other drugs may interfere with – or even delay – treatment. For example, the continued use of drugs such as Valium (diazepam) will affect the psychological treatments for anxiety, while alcohol disrupts anti-depressant medication.

For more information:

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On track with the right mix app on iTunes, MedAdvisor app on iTunes, the MedAdvisor website, VicHealth alcohol harm prevention apps or VicHealth smoking prevention apps

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