Our mental health is important because it contributes to our overall well-being. But using drugs and alcohol can have serious consequences on our mental health, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, loss of motivation, having a negative outlook on life, and many others. 

In this article, you’ll learn how drugs and alcohol can affect your mental health and the treatment options available if you struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders.

How Drugs and Alcohol Can Affect Your Mental Health

Often, drug use can cause physical issues that affect both your mental and physical well-being. Using drugs and alcohol can affect your mental health in the following ways. 

  • Causing you to feel depressed
  • Creating feelings of anxiety
  • Having a negative outlook on life
  • Becoming fixated or obsessed with the drug
  • Experiencing sudden changes in mood
  • Loss of motivation
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Feeling isolated
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms
  • Creating physical health issues that cause emotional stress, including high blood pressure, liver and pancreas complications, and strokes
  • Periods of psychosis
  • Exacerbating pre-existing mental illness

Additionally, if you have experienced trauma previously in life, this can play a role in your addiction and mental health. 

Substances Affecting Your Mental Health

Any drug, including alcohol, can negatively affect your mental health. Below is a list of a few ways specific drugs can harm you emotionally and mentally:


Alcohol abuse can cause depression, as well as cause you to act in ways you normally wouldn’t (including having suicidal thoughts). 


Adderall can lead to mental health problems by causing changes in mood, increased periods of crying, depression, anxiety, and even paranoia. 


The negative mental health effects of benzos can include feeling confused, tired, and overtime anxious, and depressed. 


Cocaine addiction usually involves an intense fixation on the drug and obsessive thoughts about using it. There is also often a crashing effect, where people who use cocaine become very tired, depressed, and anxious. 


Fentanyl addiction can also lead to obsessive thoughts about the drug, hallucinations, visual disturbances, depression, and anxiety. 


Opioid use can lead to adverse mental health outcomes, including depression, isolation, sleep disturbances, and irritability. 

As mentioned, for those who have a preexisting mental health condition or any mental health disorders, using drugs and alcohol can make these issues even worse.

How Do I Know If I Have an Addiction?

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you have an addiction or if your substance use is contributing to your poor mental health. Below are a few key symptoms and behaviors to look out for:

Alcohol Addiction

  • Drinking more alcohol than intended or for longer periods
  • Unable to cut down on drinking despite wanting to
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol
  • Cravings for alcohol and increased tolerance levels
  • Continuing to drink despite knowing it is causing physical, psychological, or social problems
  • Giving up activities that were once important to drink
  • Drinking when it is unsafe or illegal to do so, such as before driving

Drug Addiction

  • You keep taking a drug after it’s no longer needed for a health problem
  • You need more and more of a substance to get the same effects
  • You feel strange when the drug wears off (feeling shaky, depressed, or have headaches)
  • You can’t stop yourself from using the drug
  • You’ve lost interest in things you once liked to do
  • You drive or do other dangerous things (like use heavy machines) when you are on the drug
  • You sleep too much or too little compared with how you used to
  • You look different (bloodshot eyes, bad breath, frequent bloody noses, or you may have gained or lost weight)
  • You take prescribed meds with alcohol or other drugs

Getting Help For Your Addiction and Mental Health

There are many ways to improve your mental health, but if you struggle with a drug addiction, you will most likely need help from drug and alcohol service professionals who specialize in addiction. 

The good news is several highly effective drug rehab therapies can help you get to the root of your addiction, improving your mental health in the process. Inpatient rehab, also known as residential treatment, provides evidence-based, around-the-clock support and care to individuals in alcohol rehab or drug rehab. 

Therapies are tailored to each individual’s needs and include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Mental health services
  • 12-step support groups
  • Medication management (including mental health drugs)

Mental health treatment, also known as dual diagnosis treatment, is offered to those who are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction and a co-occurring disorder (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, etc.). 

Dual diagnosis treatment from an experienced mental health team thoroughly addresses both the addiction and mental health issues simultaneously, increasing your overall mental health for the long term. 

Receive Substance Abuse Treatment & Mental Health Support

Ready to start the path to healing and recovering from drug addiction? Our team at Gloria Rehab is here to help you live a happy, healthy life. Each of our evidence-based therapies and programs provides patients with a unique and individualized approach to care in a supportive, compassionate environment. We’re also available to answer any questions related to our treatment programs, treatment for mental disorders, and health insurance coverage.

Contact us today to begin the treatment process.