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How do drugs effect your mental health ?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Drugs can alter or change chemicals in your brain which can possibly have adverse effects on your overall wellbeing including your mental health.

All drugs including the misuse of prescription medications or illegal substances carry serious health risk and can in some cases lead to possible death.

Drugs can alter or change chemicals in your brain which can possibly have adverse effects on your overall wellbeing including your mental health.

All people will experience the effects of drug taking differently.

Some may experience a ‘high’ after taking mind altering substances, whereas others lose all sense of judgement and experience extreme anxiety which can manifest itself into more serious issues.

It is possible that you may begin to see and hear things differently all around you. Your normal safe environment may become distorted and changed leading you to experience more anxiety as a result.

Taking drugs can also have a huge impact on your moods and emotions. You may experience negative impacts on your physical body and also your mental health.

When you take psychoactive drugs like cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, alcohol, or opioids you may experience short term positive effects that may lead into long term negative effects on your overall wellbeing and happiness.

Possible long term effects of drug taking are:

  • Stealing money from friends and family in order to buy drugs

  • Being less productive at home, work or school.

  • Experiencing sudden and drastic mood changes

  • Feeling dependant on drugs.

  • Have episodes of drug induced psychosis.

  • It will take a longer time for your mental health to heal if you take drugs. Drugs can make you more likely want to self-harm or take your own life.



If you feel that your drug use is affecting your mental health know that there are many support options available to you.

Seek advice from your local GP who will talk you through your options to help get you the support and guidance you need. Below are some local and national services available to you.


The HSE Substance Misuse Team operates under the Social Inclusion Department of the HSE. In Wexford the Team consists of a Co-ordinator, two Addiction Counsellors and one Liaison Nurse. This team offers counselling and detox services. Team members can also access residential services in the Aisling Centre for those requiring this service. The team manages a Needle Exchange service throughout the county. It liaises closely with the FDYS Community Based Drugs Initiative workers and Family Support Services. Referrals are also made to CAMHS, the Tusla, Child Protection Social Work Department and the Cornmarket Project.


FDYS Community Based Drugs Initiative - Francis Street, Wexford, Co Wexford -053 9123262

Youth project providing targeted and universal services to young people and their families.

Contact Persons Ann Lacey & John Paul O’Neill (CBDI Project Workers)

Referrals Referrals can be made in person, by families, HSE, Schools, agencies or any group or person can phone and make an appointment.

Eligibility Criteria All ages in County Wexford


The Corn Market Project, Block A, Spawell Road, Wexford, Co Wexford - 0539155817

Addiction Support Service, Counselling, Family Support, Juvenile Justice, Training and Employment.

Contact Person Paul Delaney (Project Co-ord) / Paul O Brien (Services Manager).

Target Age Group All Services : 18 years and over 1-to-1 / Counselling : Under 18’s

Eligibility Criteria Medium to High Risk. Statutory Agency/voluntary agency referrals i.e. Probation Service / HSE / DSP / Gardai. Also GP and Solicitors. Family and Self-Referral.


The Mens Hostel, Ozanam House, St. Vincent de Paul, Thomas Street, Wexford, Co Wexford - 0539121440

Voluntary service providing support for homeless men aged 18 years upwards.

Target Age Group Homeless men aged 18 years and older. Eligibility Criteria Men experiencing homelessness or at risk, eviction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction etc. Referrals Self-referrals, Community Welfare Officer, other statutory agencies.


Narcotics Anonymous Ireland - Meeting in Gorey 7.30pm - 9pm Church of Ireland

Charlotte Row, Gorey, Church Centre. For more information click here.


Other Services:

  • Online information and support for drug and alcohol use. Includes a national directory of drug and alcohol services

  • HSE Drugs, Alcohol, HIV and Sexual Health Helpline: Freephone 1800 459 459.


If you need further support remember to let us help you here at Talk To Tom. We can be your guide - contact us on (0818) 303061or via Whats App.  To launch a chat now click here.   You can find out more about our counselling service here. 


Other services you where you can reach someone to talk to are:

Samaritans offers a 24 hour listening service over text message, text 'Hello' to 087 260 9090 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply) or call 116 123 to talk to someone over the phone.

Childline text and instant messaging services are available from 10am - 4am every day to young people under 18, text 'Talk' to 50101 to talk to a trained counsellor by text message or call 1800 66 66 66.


Visit Your GP:

We always recommend that you visit your GP.  Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.  Your doctor is a professional health care provider and will be familiar with how you are feeling.  Your mental health is just that - your health.  You would visit your GP if you had been feeling physically unwell right ?  Your emotional health is just as important as your physical well-being - in fact the two go hand in hand.  If you don’t have a current GP you can find a list of services in your area here.  You can also contact the CareDoc service on 1850 334 999


Contact the Emergency Services:

If you are an immediate danger to yourself and are going through a suicidal crisis  please contact the emergency services by dialling 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.

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