There are many reasons why young people take drugs or drink. It might be that you are using it to cope with how you feel, or to fit in with people you spend time with, or it might be that you want to try something new.
If you are using substances have a think about the following:
- Do you or other people ever worry about your drinking or drug use?
- Is it affecting how you get on at school, college or work?
- Is it causing problems at home or with relationships?
- Do you feel that your general mood or character has changed?
- Do you find it difficult if you don’t have alcohol or drugs for a while?
- Have you lost interest in things/activities that you used to enjoy?
- Are you taking risks that you or others around you are concerned about e.g. unsafe or making decisions you later regret?
If you feel that you need to make changes around drug or alcohol use help is at hand. You may have concerns about your health, it may be affecting your relationships, costing too much or you may feel you are missing out on doing other things.
For some people drug use is linked to their mental health. It might be that using drugs or alcohol is a way of coping with difficult emotions and pain. Sometimes having a mental health problem can affect judgement and mean that you are more likely to take drugs. If this is the case there are things that you should take into account.
- Addiction – drugs, alcohol and nicotine, affect the way you feel, both physically and mentally. These feelings can be enjoyable and create a powerful urge to use the substances again. But you might reach a point where you feel unable to cope with life without the drug and your need to get hold of more begins to control you. Addiction is often linked to mental illness.
- Making an underlying mental health condition worse. There is a risk that drug and alcohol use can make you more likely to develop a mental illness. Some drugs can create paranoia, where others create psychosis.
The Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service (YPDAS) is a confidential service based within South Gloucestershire for young people that can offer support that best fits your needs; someone to talk to, advice and information on reducing harm and on-going sessions to explore the things you’re struggling with. This service isn’t interested in telling you what to do, it’s here to help you to keep safe and get back on track.
If you would like to talk to someone and find out more you can:
Contact YPDAS on 01454 866000 and ask to be put in touch with a young people’s drug and alcohol specialist (weekdays 9am-5pm)
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit their webpage: www.southglos.gov.uk/ypdas
Schools employ a range of people to look after your wellbeing. Some of the titles of these staff may vary in your school but you will be able to find out about them from a teacher.
Most schools have a nurse who either have a drop-in clinic or appointments you can make to see them. They can provide information about mental health and emotional wellbeing, and can help you access further support if this is needed. http://cchp.nhs.uk/cchp/explore-cchp/school-health-nursing
Off the Record: free and confidential one-to-one and group mental health support for 11-18 year olds, in schools and community settings. Young people can sign up online or find out more via the HUBS – www.otrbristol.org.uk, call 0808 808 9120 between 2 and 5pm.
GP – you can make an appointment to visit your doctor or a nurse at the surgery to talk about any worries or concerns you have. Call your GP surgery to speak to the receptionist or go there in person. The receptionist will probably ask you who the appointment is for and why; this is to make sure that you see the right person at the right time. You don’t have to tell them why – you can just say it’s for something personal if you like.
If you think you’ll might have difficulty discussing your mental health with your GP, you can find advice about how to prepare How to Talk to Your GP About Mental Health