Drugs Affect Mental Illness Too

There is no secret that the opioid epidemic here, in West Virginia is destroying many families and loved ones. One of the positives however, is that lawmakers have voted to increase the number of beds in treatment facilities to better serve those who have an opioid addiction.

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People who go into these facilities might have to wait not only hours, but even days for a bed to be available to them. As of right now, West Virginia has about 1,100 treatment beds and are not fulfilling the people who come in to receive help, which can actually lead them right back to their habit.

I want to write this post because my mom is severely brain damaged due to overdosing on diet pills because she suffered from anxiety, depression, and was bipolar; for my sister-in-law who overdosed on heroin and died very recently; and for my brother who is a methamphetamine addict and is depressed, bipolar, has anxiety, and has schizophrenia.

What made me want to write this post, especially on a subject so personal? Well to be honest, I was listening to ‘Under the Bridge’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers and actually listened to what the song was about. The song is about how lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, would shoot heroin “under the bridge” and how it ran his life, escaping him from reality. That when he was alone, she was there. Kiedis actually wrote a book called ‘Scar Tissue’ about his opioid addiction and how he overcame it. Because I recently lost my sister-in-law, this hit home for me.

A lot of people would agree with me when I say that those who are battling depression turn to drugs to pick themselves up and temporarily take them away from their sadness. Drugs such as heroin, marijuana, alcohol, and ecstasy are mood enhancers and can quickly change your mood from sad to happy, unless you get in your head and have what is a “bad trip”. People who use these drugs develop a toxic relationship with them that will be extremely hard for them to break away from- all because they want to forget about the bad things in life.

When one takes drugs, it affects their brain chemistry. This would cause one to act different, or not receive or send messages the way they should be. For example, when my brother smoked methamphetamine he would become extremely paranoid and sit in his car for hours because he thought the government was after him.

He also would cover every camera in the house on cell phones, tablets, and tablets because he claimed people were sending him messages telling him they they were watching him. He also would hallucinate and say bugs were crawling on him, or was in his food. He would pick at his face and his arms to “get rid of the bugs” which causes the sores.

“Drugs can have a longer-lasting impact on your mental health too, and you need to think seriously about your own strengths and vulnerabilities. Consider whether you use drugs to make bad feelings go away and whether you are in control of your use. Even if you start using drugs with a clear mind they may still affect your mental health. Drugs can simply expose bad feelings you never knew you had. 

Unwanted effects may stay with you because you have a pre-existing mental health condition you were not aware of. Or you may get the dose very wrong and permanently disrupt a chemical balance in your brain.”

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As you can see, drugs are very serious and terrifying. They can ruin a person’s life to the point of actually killing them. When you are suffering from a mental illness, drugs can cause panic attacks, mood disorder, and delusions.

They can make you feel strange and you could actually scare yourself into that paranoid state forever. Even New York Magazine said in an article that “people who try LSD or ‘shrooms — sometimes even just once! — are forever ruined by flashbacks and other symptoms that eventually drive them to a state of full-blown psychosis.”

Being a college student, I know many of my classmates do not know the effects of every drug. I hope one day that the opioid epidemic comes to an end, and that all families or loved ones that are suffering from addiction find peace and beat their addiction. My heart goes out to the families who struggle day-to-day, and to those who have lost a loved one because it truly is one of the hardest things to watch.






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