Love a night on the town? Dancing until dawn? And take party drugs with your friends to keep it going? But then find yourself feeling oddly low during the week?
Party drugs can seriously mess with your mood.
All drugs affect your mind in one way or another, even if you are just abusing prescription drugs or a drug that is not yet 'illegal'. And when your mind is affected, your mental health is at risk.
Stimulants make you feel excited, energised, and up, like amphetamines, mephedrone (meow meow), poppers, ecstasy, and cocaine.
But when the high ends they can cause sleep problems, mood swings, and depression, as well as anxiety. And with long-term use (they are addictive) can lead to paranoia and psychosis and even a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Also referred to as sedatives, these slow down your brain so you feel less tense, like solvents, and valium, or smoking weed.
When you aren't high you can feel out of control and make poor decisions, and feel, well, depressed. They can lead to anxiety and aggression.
Or painkillers. They leave you feely dreamy and in a state of pleasure, like codeine and morphine. Opium-related painkillers like heroin are highly dangerous and possibly deadly.
They can leave you out of touch with yourself, depressed, without a libido, addicted, and in a state of dissociation.
Hallucinogens, like some strains of cannabis, magic mushrooms, and LSD, play with your mind and heighten your sensory capacities.
But they can lead to anxiety and paranoia.
[For a thorough A-Z list of the mental health side effects of every kind of recreational drug, refer to the list on the Mind charity's website.]
But what if you aren't addicted? Are recreational drugs really a big deal for mental health? Consider the following affects.
If we spend our time with others who love party drugs, there can be an expectation or pressure that you all do drugs together.
The moments you don’t want to -- when you have something important the next day, or aren’t feeling well -- you might find you say yes when you say no. Your boundaries erode, and with them your self-respect.
Most people who use party drugs lie to someone about it. Their employer, their family, their childhood friends, or their partner.
You can tell yourself it’s ‘no big deal’. But each time you lie you are reminded you are unreliable, and not a good person. And again, bit by bit, it erodes self-worth. You start to lose sight of yourself in your own dishonest narrative.
Lying to those you love puts distance between you and them. You are no longer free to be your authentic self with them. Bit by bit, a sense of loneliness starts to grow.
You can compensate for this with the camaraderie you have with your fellow party-drug taking mates, sure. But often drugs become the only thing bonding you with them.
And they are the type of people who want a good time, not a tough time. All great when you are high and having a blast. But are they going to be there to talk to when life gets serious?
Drugs aren’t good for your body, and come with a risk, even of death. Each time you take party drugs you are telling your unconscious mind you don’t value yourself. It takes a toll and can lead to anxiety.
Using party drugs takes work. There is getting hold of the drugs, having enough money to pay, making sure you get into the club without getting caught, the anxiety of things going well and the drugs being safe, etcetera.
And then there is the utter distraction of addiction. Of thinking about drugs and getting high again when you are supposed to be working or focused on family.
And the more distracted you are, the more your relationships and work are affected, the more stressed and anxious you can become.
The high can be so blinding that you stop working on learning how to be happy otherwise. The rest of life can start to seem bland, pointless. You live, literally, for the weekend.
The more we use party drugs, the more our life becomes about getting high, the less time we invest in other hobbies or experiences that teach us who we are and what we are capable of.
Eventually you can drift further and further away from yourself, until there is just the high you, and then the other you dragging along until the next hit.
Have party drugs taken over your life? Book a session now with a therapist who gets it and can help you find your way back.