Young people who are experiencing problems such as depression may try using alcohol or other drugs as a way to feel better. Some may not even be aware that they are struggling with depression - they only see that they feel good after they've had a few drinks or get high.
Even though it feels like it might be helping, drinking alcohol or taking other drugs can actually worsen a person’s depression. Using these substances only provides short term relief. Although you might be able to forget your troubles for a few hours, using alcohol and other drugs can make it harder for you to feel good when you're sober.
Some facts about substance use
- Alcohol can increase the level of depressive symptoms.
- Drugs like cocaine can change the brain’s ability to release dopamine (a natural chemical produced in our brains). Depression can result if the brain cannot produce a normal amount of dopamine.
- People who have been using alcohol or other drugs frequently, over a long period of time may experience temporary depression symptoms when they stop using them.