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Supporting someone with substance use issues

Two friends hugging at the beach.

Caring for someone who has mental health and drug and alcohol issues is complex. It can be hard to tell what came first, the mental illness or the drug and alcohol issues.

Quite often, people use  drugs as a way of coping with their symptoms. While this can mask the effect of their symptoms, if they stop using the drug their issues may return.

For example, using a particular drug may help someone cope with low mood, but if they stop using the drug this symptom of depression will return. This can be an overwhelming feeling and act as a trigger, tempting people to start using again – creating a merry-go-round of substance use problems.

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