How Substance Abuse Can Affect Mental Health

How Substance Abuse Can Affect Mental Health

“I was in a race to see if I would die from the outside in or the inside out” – Laurie Halse Anderson

‘Intoxication’ can give a moment’s relief. But substance abuse can affect your mental health in an extremely detrimental way if used regularly. 

Let’s admit, in our lifetime we all have tried some form of intoxication. Be it alcohol, cigarettes or even marijuana. But not all of us got addicted or started continuously abusing the drugs. Did we?

What is Substance Abuse

Suppose you take a painkiller once or twice a month to get rid of the leg cramps from cardio class. But you can go fine without it even if you don’t take it. Yes, the pain makes you uncomfortable but to you it’s bearable. 

But what happens when you can’t live without painkillers? A little pain seems an excuse to grab the pills and gulp them down. And Sometimes in the case of just taking the painkillers with water, you swallow them with either alcohol or dry. You often cannot comprehend what made you do it because you had poor judgement and your comprehension was not working properly. 

You just wanted a temporary deal with the devil. 

Substance Abuse: Signs and Symptoms

According to this legitimate website, the use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or alcohol for purposes other than social or exploratory usage is known as substance abuse.  

If you are an addict then you are often in denial of your addiction problem and will refuse to accept mental health help. 

Abusing drugs? then my friend, you often hang out with enablers, a group of people who will force you to take drugs again. 

The wrong crowd as we put it.

After abusing drugs you will often appear disoriented in front of other people who are not intoxicated. You might feel on top of the world for a moment and then down in the dumps for the next, 

Some drugs make your pupils dilated and heart rate increase, that is how a doctor realises that you are high. 

Or to have a clinical diagnosis, you will have to pee in a cup. 

How Addiction Affects You

substance abuse starts affecting your mental health it interferes with your social, economical and psychological well being. 

Moreover, it also destroys people around you.

Often people cannot handle the drugs and end up overdosing on them. 

The aftermath is terrible. You either die. 

Or you and people around you live with a fear of you overdosing again. 

It is a terrible feeling when you do not know where and when to stop. 

In 2017, a former child superstar and current celebrity Demi Lovato overdosed on opioids and ended up in a pool of vomit in her million-dollar mansion. Nobody expected her to survive. But a paramedic saved her and she was rushed to hospital.

She overdosed after being sober for five years…

Three years later she came up with a song “Dancing with the devil” and said how she was drowning the pain that fame brought her through drugs. 

She made it out of the woods.

Did you or can you too?

Why Do People Abuse Substances

Substance abuse refers to a self-administered process. 

The first high you get after inhaling cocaine can be so addictive that you constantly want to stay in the same state. 

Then you constantly want to reinforce it. Even if you go to rehab you come back again and start abusing substances again. It is a vicious circle. 

That is the general viewpoint. But aggression, criminal activity and mental health issues often play a role. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Apart from genetic dispositions, mental health issues such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder etc can push you to the walls of substance abuse. 

Your tremendous low self-esteem, self-loathing and depression that makes you feel like deleting yourself from the face of the earth, all can be forgotten in a cocaine shot. Or LSD can give you the psychedelic feelings that makes you forget your illness or problems. Thus you start to face substance abuse disorder. 

Heroin, Cocaine, Marijuana, LSD, Methamphetamine becomes your lifeline. Clonazepam or lorazepam also creates prescription drug dependency.

Can Substance Abuse be Prevented

You can prevent your loved one from succumbing to the darkness of intoxication. 

  • Provide unconditional love from childhood
  • Give a safe family environment if one member has a substance abuse problem.
  • Psycho educate your adolescent.
  • Address their underlying mental health problems 
  • Make them exercise regularly so that the happy hormones secrete profusely instead of drugs.
  • Find a proper therapist specializing in substance abuse
  • If there is an alcohol problem then do assist your loved ones with regular Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
  • Keep prescription drugs out of their hands and administer them yourself.
  • Last but not least do not hesitate to seek help and admit your loved ones to a substance abuse psychiatric facility.

The Bottom Line

Coming out of addiction or addiction or substance problems requires patience, care and the ability to be vulnerable. No one gets addicted to substances just for the sake of it. If you want to save the person or save yourself, then you will have to look beyond the addiction and address the person underneath it because the pain is tremendous.

Self-resilience is also important.

Oche Otokarpa once said, ” One thing you must realize is that: you either kill your addiction or your addiction will eventually kill you.”


So how have you managed to cope up with your substance abuse and mental health? 

Let us know in the comments below. 

No one will judge you here for your struggles. 




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