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Do alcohol and drugs help us cope with stress? #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek


This week (14-20 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week – and this year the theme is coping with stress.

Stress affects all of us, from time to time, but when it goes on for a long time we can develop longer-term mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Here at DAWS we wanted to use the awareness week to take a look at how people use drugs or alcohol to handle stress and the impact that this can have.

DrinkAware published some research earlier this year that showed that of those who drink alcohol, 58% of us drink to help us cope with the pressures of day to day life, which is really damaging.1

And when you take those who are already in substance misuse treatment into account, the numbers are even higher. Of those receiving substance misuse treatment, 70% of drug users, and 86% of alcohol users have mental health problems.2

While alcohol and drugs can help us to forget our problems, they don’t solve the underlying issues. And they can make mental health issues such as anxiety and depression worse.

Clearly, more needs to be done about the relationship between poor mental health and how we use drugs or alcohol. We need to be raising awareness of the importance of good mental health, and helping those who might be struggling to talk about their experiences, to look for support, and to seek coping mechanisms that do not involve relying on alcohol or drugs.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, if you’re feeling as though your drug or alcohol use is getting out of control, we urge you to get in touch with us. We have an expert team who can help you address the reasons for your drug or alcohol use, and get you the mental health support that you need.

To learn more about DAWS, please get in touch with our lovely team on 0330 303 8080 or email us daws@turning-point.co.uk

  1. DrinkAware. 2018. Worrying number of people drinking alcohol to cope with day to day pressures. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/press/worrying-number-of-people-drinking-to-cope-with-day-to-day-pressures/. [Accessed 15 May 2018].
  2. Public Health England. 2018. Better care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions. [ONLINE] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/
    system/uploads/attachment_data/file/625809/Co-occurring_mental_health_and_alcohol_drug_use_conditions.pdf. [Accessed 15 May 2018].

We are currently providing limited face to face support as a result of COVID-19; however treatment is still available. Find out the latest update on how the service is operating and please phone your local hub if you need assistance.

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