Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

Substance Misuse

Most people will drink alcohol or try drugs at some point in their lives. It might be something you do around friends to be sociable or to cope with difficult feelings.

At first it may seem like fun but substance misuse can start to take over your life and give you more problems than it solves.

A few drinks with friends can be a good laugh but having lots of alcohol on a regular basis has massive downsides – and we’re not just talking hangovers and empty wallets. Drinking too much can have serious effects on both your physical and mental health.

How substance misuse can affect your mental health

  • If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, drinking alcohol or taking drugs might temporarily relieve your negative thoughts and feelings but in the long term, substance use can magnify the problem, creates new issues and make life more complicated. You might also find yourself consuming higher quantities of drugs or alcohol on a more regular basis.
  • Substances can also change or reduce certain chemicals in the brain, sometimes leading to symptoms of depression, schizophrenia and anxiety. These side effects can give you the urge to take more drugs in order to feel better and block out negative feelings. Before you know it, you’re in a vicious cycle that can be difficult to escape.
  • Misusing substances can make you vulnerable to exploitation by criminals which can affect your mental health.

Due to the complexity of substance misuse it is not possible to do a self-referral for this. Please see your GP who will be able to refer you.

Self referral

It is not possible to self refer for this condition.

Contact your GP (between 8am to 6pm) for a GP referral or if you require urgent help then you can refer yourself to the Central Access Point (CAP) on their 24-hour phone line on 0808 800 3302. Please note however that the CAP line is not an emergency service. Where there is an immediate, serious, and life-threatening emergency, call 999 or attend A&E.

If you do not require urgent or emergency help then please make an appointment to see your GP.  Please also read the advice on this page and the self help resources below.

Self help resources

We have put together a list of specialist organisations that may be able to offer you additional support.

View self help resources