Urgent Help
IS THIS AN EMERGENCY? Are you or others in danger? Do you need an ambulance or the police? 24 HOURS
Lifeline 24 hour phone line for crisis support and suicide prevention. 24 HOURS
13YARN 24 hour crisis phone line support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 24 HOURS

Drug and alcohol effects on the brain

Drugs and alcohol can feel like they help you escape your problems, relax and have fun. They can also affect your mental health and mood.

This is because the way drugs and alcohol work is by changing how your brain functions by adjusting the chemical balance in it.

Short term impacts on your mental health can include; feeling anxious, agitated, moody, down, flat or unmotivated and you may be more aggressive or paranoid than you used to be.

You might notice that you can’t go to a party without using drugs or alcohol. This can be a sign you are getting dependant on a substance. You could start having problems with your family or friends, getting into arguments or not hanging out any more because of your use. It can also cause issues in other areas of life like school, work or health.

Mental health

If you have a mental health condition the effects could be even more intense, or your mental health could get worse because of substance use. Drugs and alcohol can also sometimes be a trigger for a pre-existing mental health conditions.

When using drugs and/or alcohol there is always some risk. Things like taking the wrong dose (too much, too often), mixing drugs, or using for a long time can have ongoing effects on you.

If your drug and/or alcohol use makes you feel unhappy, unwell or impacts important things in your life, either during or after drinking, you may be drinking too much.