If you suffer from anxiety or depression, using party drugs increases your risk of these getting worse or of developing more serious mental health problems. If you’re prone to mental health problems or any kind, using drugs can trigger them. But you might not realise you’re vulnerable to mental health problems and only discover this when drugs trigger a problem off.
Someone diagnosed with ental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder 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 can be the result of heavy use of some drugs. Psychosis is where people may see or hear things that aren’t there or have unusual beliefs that most people would not believe or that are not in keeping with their culture. An example is someone believing they are the devil or Jesus or that someone is trying to harm them. You can read more about psychosis here.
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 also 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.
Some anti-depressants can interact dangerously with some recreational drugs, such as 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, which is when the brain releases too much of its ‘feel good’ chemical serotonin. Symptoms include a fast heart beat, sweating, muscle spasms, shivers, high temperature, agitation, and insomnia. If this happens to you or someone else, you need to seek urgent medical help. If you’re prescribed anti-depressants check with a doctor about possible interactions with any recreational drugs you might take. The doctor might be able to give you a different type of anti-depressant, one less likely to have a bad reaction with street drugs.
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:
If your liver has been damaged by hepatitis (A, B or C) or you’re recovering from these, it is advisable not to take alcohol and party drugs. It’s possible that someone can have a medical condition such as a heart defect without realising until a drug-related medical emergency identifies it.
This article was last reviewed on: 28/10/11
Date due for next review: 28/10/13