Just like alcohol, illicit drugs can significantly worsen mental health. Repeated drug use causes feelings of withdrawal, leading to mental health disturbances. Drug abuse also triggers substance-induced mental disorders. Some drugs even cause mental health problems later in life. Self-medication always makes things worse.
Different drugs have varying effects. The list below explores how some drugs can worsen mental health problems and increase the risk of suicide ideation.
Regular cannabis use can be linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression. It has also been linked to causing psychotic illness among people with underlying mental health problems. It is primarily the THC levels in cannabis creating issues among some users.
The CDC stated that daily or nearly daily use and high doses of THC can cause disorientation and sometimes unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Most evidence clearly shows that cannabis use is linked to earlier onset of psychosis in people with genetic risk factors for psychotic disorders. It also worsens symptoms in people who already have these conditions.
Methamphetamine increases dopamine activity in the brain. Some meth users have shown structural and functional alterations in areas of their brain associated with memory and emotion. Individuals with underlying mental health problems are eight times more likely to have a methamphetamine addiction.
Meth addiction and mental health issues increase vulnerability to self-harming behaviors and suicidal thoughts. In addition, there is a high vulnerability to developing psychosis-type symptoms.
Similar to methamphetamine, cocaine causes a surge of dopamine. Individuals with underlying mental health problems are at an increased risk of experiencing psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, blunted emotions, and aggression.
Cocaine use can also create depression and anxiety, worsening with long-term use. Suicidal ideation is also common.
Heroin has also been linked to significant mental health problems. In addition, the white matter in the brain has been found to deteriorate over time with continued heroin use. This impacts the person’s ability to respond to stressful stimuli, and they struggle to manage behavior.
Chronic heroin users will also suffer from depression and significantly decreased mood. This can lead to suicidal ideation and self-harm.