​At a glance

People who experience problems with mental health conditions may also experience issues with substance use (alcohol and/or other drugs). Sometimes the person may be trying to escape how they feel. In other cases, the use of substances can lead to someone having issues with their mental health.

A person who is diagnosed with a substance use disorder uses a particular substance regularly. Over time, they may build up tolerance, meaning they need to take larger amounts of something in order to get the same effect. The person may spend a lot of time thinking about how they can get it and how they can get money to pay for it. They will probably find it difficult to stop taking the substance because long-term, regular use can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal effects.

Excessive use of alcohol and/or other drugs can also cause problems with personal care and physical health. It may put pressure on relationships and cause financial stress. It can also lead to changes in mood or behaviour, such as increased aggression or irritability, depression and lethargy.

Resources

Your Room
The Your Room website provides up to date fact sheets and information about alcohol and other drugs. It includes details of where to get advice, support or referrals to services.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation
This site contains information about alcohol and drug use, fact sheets and access to the Australian Drug Information Network directory.

Substance use & mental illness
This fact sheet provides an overview of the condition, the causes, symptoms and treatment options. There is also a Guide on how to get help and manage life.
Type: Fact sheets
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Produced by: SANE Australia

Tip sheets for carers of people with mental illness and drug use (Translated Fact Sheets)
This fact sheet provides an overview of why people with mental illness may use drugs, how drugs affect medication, what helps and what doesn’t, and ways to get help. This fact sheet is available in a number of translated languages.
Type: Fact Sheet
Length: 3 pages
Produced by: Victorian Mental Health Carers Network
Translations: Yes

Meet Mark . . .
Meet Mark… “I’m a living example that with help and support you can come out the other side.” Mark talks about his issues with substance use and his mental illness.
Type: Video | Closed captions
Viewing time: 4.50 minutes
Produced by: SANE Australia

Behind the scenes: Leonie Newton
In this article Leonie shares her experience of “living with a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and an addiction to alcohol and pain medication”.
Type: Article
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Produced by: SANE Australia

Current as at: Monday 20 January 2020
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch