Many people might think that only major conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder denote mental illness. However, many common symptoms like anxiety, sadness, mood swings and insomnia indicate poor mental health and often signify underlying conditions. Using drugs can make these feelings worse, but even people who initially have good mental health can jeopardize their way of life when they use drugs.

Short-Term Impacts

People often start using drugs because of the initial pleasurable effects they deem positive like increased energy, mental clarity or euphoria. Once the substance leaves the system, these feelings disappear. In time, it takes larger doses to duplicate these effects which also come with the price of short-term alterations in brain chemistry. These changes can lead to side effects like hallucinations, increased heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath and mood swings.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders caused by drug use range from manic (high) states like impulsiveness and racing thoughts to extreme lows like restlessness, irritability and depression. Drugs like cocaine, methadone, amphetamines and heroin, especially, cause these syndromes.

Long-Term Impacts

Drugs can cause progressive brain changes which may manifest as depression, paranoia and anxiety. As a user develops tolerance, they will need more of the substance to achieve the same high. When they fail to reach the desired euphoric state, depression sets in. Additionally, remorse and guilt about their condition can lead to chronic depression and feed the cycle.

Substances like cocaine can cause paranoia, but even those addicted to other drugs often suffer from this symptom because they fear the legal consequences of getting caught. Anxiety issues often stem from a fear of not being able to get the next dose. Users with anxiety can find it hard to focus on responsibilities and relationships, leading to loss of employment and relationships.


People often turn to drugs in order to self-medicate existing mental issues, but since the side effects mimic the symptoms of mental illness, it can be difficult to determine exactly which condition activates what symptoms. Public health specialists who earned their degrees from MSW programs online say this can be especially true for conditions like depression, ADHD, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Drug use can even trigger mental health disorders, increase the severity of underlying symptoms, and impede the beneficial effects of prescription medication. That is why healthcare professionals play a vital role in treating not only the mental health symptoms of drug use, but the underlying causes as well.

A healthy state of mind supports overall physical health and well-being. Since drug use endangers both, abstinence is the best defense. For anyone struggling with drug use and addiction, obtaining professional help can aid in restoring balance.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.