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:

Apps iconCheck out these great apps and sites

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

Alcohol and other drugs resources for young people and their friends and family: