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Alcohol, drugs and emotional well-being
First Steps, Version 2, February 2013
Alcohol, drugs and emotional well-being
What is in this booklet?
Page Introduction Drugs that may affect emotional well-being
1. Alcohol 2. Amphetamines (speed); Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) 3. Anabolic Steroids 4. Benzodiazepines 5. Caffeine 6. Cannabis 7. Cocaine; Crack Cocaine 8. Ecstasy (MDMA/MDEA) 9. Heroin (Diamorphine) 10. Ketamine; Phencyclidine (PCP) 11. Khat 12. LSD ((Lysergic acid diethylamide) 13. Magic Mushrooms 14. Methadone 15. Buprenorphine (trade name Temgesic) 16. Mephedrone 17. Research Chemicals (Legal Highs) 18. Solvents
Self-help tips for emotional well-being Challenging negative thinking Support networks Keeping a balance The ‘stress jug’ analogy Communication and assertiveness Relaxation exercises Goal setting Distraction techniques Useful contacts
12 13 15 15 16 16 17 18 19 20
Alcohol, drugs and emotional well-being
Introduction Of all the people diagnosed with a mental health condition. This applies for illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Skag. C. Someone may notice withdrawal symptoms after a period of regular use. Gear. White) Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth. most drug-related problems generally involve physical and psychological symptoms and sometimes it is difficult to separate the two. even though it may be doing you physical or psychological harm. family or relationship problems. and often unexpected. 29% stated they misuse alcohol or drugs. Toot. These are: Alcohol (Booze) Tobacco (Chewing and Smoking) Heroin (Brown. Ice. a person can become psychologically dependent. as well as legal drugs such as alcohol. drugs and emotional well-being . you may be becoming physically addicted. which may encourage them to continue using. First Steps -3- Alcohol. some recreational drugs have been scientifically proven to be physically addictive. Other signs that you could be becoming dependent on drugs are: if obtaining and taking drugs is more important than anything else in your life if you use drugs to block out both physical and emotional pain if you use drugs to distance yourself from problems such as loneliness. unemployment or lack of opportunities Being physically and/or psychologically addicted (or dependent) means that you will crave more of the drug. poverty or housing difficulties. low self-esteem. Snow. Drinking or using other drugs to deal with difficult feelings or symptoms of mental illness is sometimes called ‘self-medication’ by people in the mental health field. Smack. Charlie. you may be becoming psychologically dependent. All drugs (medicinal as well as illegal) have the potential for unwanted. Horse. If this self-medication becomes a regular tool for coping. Also. H) Cocaine (Coke. Tina) If you rely on drugs to help you feel less anxious or depressed or to improve your mood. In fact. effects. They are usually substance and individual specific. If you rely on drugs to achieve certain physical effects or you can’t face the unpleasant physical effects of not taking the drugs.
drugs and emotional well-being . HIV and hepatitis) Drugs taken during pregnancy may damage the foetus First Steps -4- Alcohol.threatening With any illicit drug there is no quality control so there is a constant danger of variable strength and they can be mixed with other substances to ‘bulk up’ the drug Injecting drugs involves the risk of introducing infections directly into the blood-stream. A strong mood-altering substance may trigger. The effects of a drug may vary according to the mental state of the person taking it. Also it is important to remember that there may be many more unwanted side effects from taking illegal drugs or alcohol. so it is important that you inform your GP before deciding to stop use of any drug.g.Withdrawal from a drug can make you very unwell in the short term. so that you can access the right type of support. or bring out an underlying emotional difficulty Drugs may interact with each other (including legal ones such as alcohol). Some mixtures may even prove life. Sharing of needles is particularly dangerous as it may lead to cross-infections (e.
When we have alcohol in our blood. ‘Self medicating’ to deal with difficult feelings or symptoms of mental illness is often why people with mental health or emotional problems drink. Alcohol problems are more common among people with more severe mental health problems. Alcohol can temporarily alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. then alcohol can magnify them. They can also cause people to drink too much. If you drink a lot over a long period. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. Dependency and withdrawal: alcohol withdrawal causes sweating. One of the main problems associated with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that people may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Mental health problems not only result from drinking too much alcohol. This does not necessarily mean that alcohol causes severe mental illness. Alcohol in excess can lead to serious physical and mental health conditions. you may use it as an escape. drugs and emotional well-being . Evidence shows that people who consume high amounts of alcohol are vulnerable to higher levels of mental ill health and it can be a contributory factor in some mental illnesses. but alcohol is essentially a depressant.Drugs that may affect emotional well-being Alcohol Alcohol is the most toxic of the commonly used drugs. But it can make existing mental health or emotional problems worse. Short-term effects: initially you feel relaxed and more sociable.or change our mental state. First Steps -5- Alcohol. This change depends on how much we drink and how quickly we drink it. Long-term effects: if you become addicted to alcohol. to ward off these difficult feelings. It can also help ‘numb’ our emotions. our mood changes. and as this effect sets in you may be tempted to drink more in order to recreate the pleasant effects. anxiety. such as depression. or as a means of coping with difficulties. so we can avoid difficult issues in our lives. and this can make us less inhibited in our behaviour. This is one of the reasons that many people become angry or aggressive when drinking. disorientation and hallucinations). it is very dangerous to stop drinking suddenly. and may you have difficulty with problem solving and concentrating. it can also help to temporarily relieve the symptoms of more serious mental health problems. but moderate use is not usually a problem. and our behaviour then also changes. trembling and delirium (which may include confusion. so that you cannot remember recent events. You can recover from these problems if you stop drinking. you may find it difficult to form new memories. If our underlying feelings are of anxiety. Put very simply. you may not be able to think clearly. anger or unhappiness. This can lead some people to drink more. and a dangerous cycle of dependence can develop. Large amounts tend to make people uninhibited and aggressive. Note: If you are addicted. Alcohol can also reveal or magnify our underlying feelings. a major reason for drinking alcohol is to change our mood .
depressed. The possible adverse effects on mental health are aggression. shaking. The effects of crystal meth are similar to crack cocaine (see below) but longer lasting. 1 pint beer (5% vol) = 3 units 1 pint lager (3% vol) = 2 units 1 small glass wine (12% vol) = 2 units 1 measure spirit (40% vol) = 1 unit Amphetamines (Speed). and irritable. even after you stop taking them. Withdrawal: symptoms include tiredness and depression. irritability. confusion. Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines work by helping to calm the brain down. or to treat the effects of stimulants. vomiting. nausea. such as alcohol or opiates. or to help with stopping smoking. these subside after stopping the steroids. They are prescribed for anxiety and as sleeping pills. First Steps -6- Alcohol. you may feel drowsy. anxious. The acute effects include agitation. Dependency and withdrawal: they should only be prescribed for short-term use. especially if you already have a diagnosis of mental health problems. hostile and aggressive. drugs and emotional well-being . including ecstasy or amphetamines. paranoia. Methylamphetamine (Crystal meth) Short-term effects: Amphetamines increase attention and alertness and reduce tiredness. sleeping problems. Regular street drug users may take them illegally if they can’t get their usual drug. while allowing you to still think clearly. Anabolic steroids Anabolic steroids are taken to increase muscle bulk and enhance sporting performance. confusion and violence. with paranoia. depression and paranoia.Current recommended ‘sensible drinking’ limits are three to four units a day for men and two to three units a day for women. Sometimes they may have the opposite effect and make you feel agitated. Short-term effects: they relieve tension and anxiety and make you feel calm and relaxed. anxiety. dramatic mood swings. Dependence: if you have become psychologically dependent on them. because it is very easy to become dependent on them. and withdrawal may be very difficult. Long-term effects: as the drug is eliminated from your body. and heightened senses. when they want to add to the effects of other similar drugs. Amphetamines may also cause a psychotic reaction. you may become lethargic and depressed. Withdrawal symptoms include sleeping problems. They make you feel energetic and confident.
It can also give you headaches. it is safer to not use. depressants and hallucinogens. but too much can make you anxious. cannabis may trigger psychotic experiences (hallucinations and other experiences which others don’t share). cannabis has been shown to impair brain function. Long-term effects: Psychotic illness in some people. jittery and sleepless. and you take a high dose. such as cola or chocolate. feeling a loss of control.Caffeine Coffee. fantasies. restless. tea and chocolate all contain caffeine. These can stop once the effects of cannabis have worn off. you may become very distressed and confused. and also associated with the strength of the cannabis used. depersonalisation and derealisation (feeling out of touch with yourself or your surroundings). while high doses can distort your perceptions. It’s important not to switch to other substances that also have high levels of caffeine. either by drinking fewer cups of coffee each day or by gradually switching to decaffeinated coffee. If you are anxious. Some people may develop depression as a result of using cannabis as teenagers. and some energy drinks have four times that amount. As there is no way of knowing whether you carry the gene that can put you at risk or not. although is classed as a depressant. fear of dying. the amount taken and your situation. muscle twitching or palpitations. In some people. In addition. it can have serious impacts on your emotional health and well-being. drugs and emotional well-being . including severe headaches as well as nausea. Cannabis Largely seen as a harmless drug. People often feel hungry. Plain chocolate has 40mg caffeine per 100g – nearly three times as much as milk chocolate Sensitivity to caffeine varies from person to person. Low doses have more of a depressant effect. One way to avoid this is to gradually decrease the amount of caffeine you consume. It is also added to some soft drinks and energy drinks as well an ingredient in some painkillers and cold remedies. talkativeness. It has effects which mimic stimulants. Cutting out caffeine in one go can be difficult because you may experience withdrawal symptoms. First Steps -7- Alcohol. The reasons that some people get these while others do not are genetic. The effects will depend largely on your expectations and mood. Short-term effects: a pleasurable state of relaxation. The average cup of coffee contains around 40mg of caffeine per cup. nausea. a can of cola around 23mg. irrational panic and paranoid ideas. stomach pain. The psychotic experiences may include experiences such as hallucinations. anxiety. Many people take cannabis as a way of relaxing and getting high. hear and feel. and make you forgetful. depressed or have not used cannabis before. irritable. bouts of hilarity and feeling excited by the things you see. but in some cases cannabis can trigger a longlasting illness that may be diagnosed as schizophrenia. fatigue and depression.
depression and psychosis. so that increasing doses are needed to create the same effect. Cocaine. Both forms can be injected. in particular to the areas of the brain which control judgment and planning. over a number of hours. a small minority are. energetic and confident. therefore. Long-term use causes irreversible brain damage. which means that people tend to take them repeatedly. and depression. These effects are short-lived. and paranoia. Young women who used cannabis daily were five times more likely to have depression and anxiety than non-users. Cocaine is often mixed with other substances. and this was more marked in girls. Crack cocaine Cocaine comes in two forms: cocaine powder which is snorted. Dependency and withdrawal: Cocaine is very addictive. If you combine cocaine with alcohol. which usually occur after excessive consumption of the drug effects on pre-existing mental illness – it can make them worse cannabis as a risk factor for mental illness dependency and withdrawal feeling lethargic finding it difficult to communicate with others having a general lack of ambition Although the majority of adolescents are not harmed by using cannabis. This is one of the reasons why cocaine addiction is hard to treat. Dependency may cause loss of energy. depression and suicidal thoughts. drugs and emotional well-being . and the younger you are when you use it. Short-term effects: initially you feel wide-awake. High doses may cause hallucinations and delusions. There was no evidence that girls who were already depressed before using cannabis were more likely than others to use it. and using cannabis weekly doubled the rates of anxiety and depression. anxiety. and some cases of psychosis could be prevented by discouraging cannabis use among young people. First Steps -8- Alcohol. psychosis. depression. Research in young people suggests that using cannabis as a teenager increases the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia in adulthood. Long-term effects: Cocaine can make existing mental health problems worse. Regular users may experience depression. Other studies. they produce a very poisonous substance which has been associated with a 25-fold increase in sudden death. the more you are at risk of developing schizophrenia. panic attacks. as the part of the brain needed to make rational decisions is no longer able to function properly. The brain adapts to it. have reported panic attacks and anxiety in a significant number of users.It is suggested that the unwanted psychological effects of cannabis can be: short-lived effects such as anxiety. using self-reported questionnaires with groups of users. and akathisia (a feeling of intense restlessness also associated with antipsychotic medication). tiredness and low motivation. and crack cocaine which is smoked. using cannabis increases the risk. panic. but it is one of the things that may contribute to its development. It was also found that those who used more cannabis were more likely to develop depression and anxiety. Cannabis use alone does not cause psychosis.
openness. dream-like states. A bad trip may make you violent. It may also cause loss of appetite. delusions. leading to serious social problems including crime. warm. you may also experience loss of confidence. changed perception of surroundings – things not looking right or not feeling right. You are very likely to become ‘tolerant’ of the drug. shakiness. suicidal or likely to harm yourself. Long-term effects: Long-term use can lead to physical and mental health problems. People don’t always become dependent. but can make you feel unwell for several months. which produces feelings of empathy. mainly used in animals. panic attacks after repeated use. The craving often comes to dominate users’ lives. with many social consequences. First Steps -9- Alcohol. and some regular users show no symptoms of addiction. because it does not respond to antidepressants. Short-term effects: poor concentration. depression. drugs and emotional well-being . a hormone involved in childbirth and social bonding. Ketamine. hallucinations and paranoia after repeated high doses. become apathetic and stop paying proper attention to safety and hygiene. Short-term effects: It causes a rush of pleasure. Long-term effects: markedly reduces the amount of serotonin stored in the brain. followed by a calm. which is difficult to treat. Some people become very drowsy. Dependency and withdrawal: Heroin causes no serious mental health problems. others may be very talkative.Ecstasy (MDMA – Adam. as you lose your appetite. Jitteriness and teeth clenching. but not life-threatening. paranoia. Many drug treatment programmes are geared to helping people who are addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs. caring and emotional closeness to others. and obtaining and taking the drug begins to take over your life. feeling you have no thoughts. Long-term effects: difficulty thinking clearly. dreamy contentment. Heroin (Diamorphine) The main effects of heroin are pain relief. and feelings of being out of touch with reality and with your surroundings. anxiety and confusion. Phencyclidine (PCP) Ketamine and PCP are anaesthetics. As heroin is a painkiller (prescribed as diamorphine). leading to craving and severe physical withdrawal symptoms. and euphoria – but also depression. MDEA – Eve) Short-term effects: causes release of serotonin. but it is extremely addictive. you may experience generalised pain when the level of drug in your system drops. The withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant. which means you need to take more of it to achieve the same effect. insomnia and lethargy. after long-term use. feeling stuck in your chair. PCP may also cause long-lasting psychosis. making you feel happy and relaxed. This can cause depression. It also causes release of oxytocin. After heavy use. They may last for up to ten days. The symptoms may be confused with schizophrenia.
an altered sense of space and time. loss of selfrespect. you can’t sleep and may not feel like eating. It may also cause you to recall unpleasant memories. anxious and irritable. It causes random and sometimes frightening effects which may be delayed. First Steps . Long-term effects: there is no evidence of long-term damage. mysticism and spirituality. depressed. Magic mushrooms The effects of magic mushrooms are similar to LSD (see above). You may have feelings of insight. restlessness and decreased libido are side effects listed in the information leaflet for this drug. LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) LSD is a synthetic drug that was first made in the 1940s. It is similar to alcohol in that it produces relaxation and aids socialisation. so it stops you going through withdrawal. and hallucinations. If you take a lot. A bad trip can give you acute anxiety and panic. drugs and emotional well-being . reported that their mental health had been damaged by it and they had never recovered. so friendly reassurance can help someone on a bad trip. This may be associated with the whole treatment method and the way it was applied at that time. Methadone has similar effects to heroin. though some people. who were prescribed LSD in the 1960s and ‘70s to help recover repressed thoughts and feelings during psychoanalysis. Khat Khat is a green. you may hear voices and become paranoid. You may feel you can fly and put yourself in serious danger. and not simply the use of LSD. Short-term effects: these include feelings of detachment from your surroundings. as with alcohol.Dependence and withdrawal: you are more likely to become dependent on PCP than ketamine. And. Short-term effects: it can make you feel elated and energetic. Changes of mood. hallucinations. and other people’s suggestions. leading to financial problems. can influence the experience. relationship problems and so on. and people may go to khat houses (mafreshi) in a very similar way to going to the pub.10 - Alcohol. Afterwards you may be tired. an inability to work. and more likely to have withdrawal symptoms. LSD is very likely to make your symptoms worse. at different times. leafy plant that has been chewed in East Africa for thousands of years. If you already have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. and also doesn’t give you the initial high. but they are milder and longer lasting. including depression and sleeping a lot. Hallucinations may be quite pleasant and non-threatening but may also be very frightening. Afterwards you may get flash-backs of bad trips. People may have ‘good’ or ‘bad’ ‘trips’. Some people have accidentally killed themselves under the influence of LSD and related drugs. The user’s own intentions. problems come with over-use. when you feel they are happening to you all over again.
with hallucinations (hearing and seeing things and also strange touch sensations) and paranoid delusions. euphorically happy. and you may still get the hallucinations and delusions even if you are taking antipsychotic medication Research chemicals (legal highs) Legal highs can be bought over the internet and in shops. they can reduce inhibitions and therefore make you more likely to take up risky behaviours. making you pale. and paranoia. The effects can also include ‘pseudohallucinations’. there is a serious risk of overdose as strengths can vary. Research chemicals are often among the most dangerous to use because there has been no research done on the chemicals to monitor their short and long term effects. gases and aerosols are used mainly by a small percentage of young people.11 - Alcohol. loss of short term memory. glues. Depression. and less inhibited. which you know are not real. causing over-stimulation. and so may be preferable if you are in employment. It is important to note that these research chemicals also carry along all the other risks of taking Street Drugs – they can be mixed with impurities as they are not regulated. but only for a minority of young people. Repeated ‘sniffing’ can cause a hangover effect. very tired. doctors would not always know how to treat you. insomnia. loss of libido. they can lead to seizures. It may also cause you to grind your teeth. All of these are more likely if you already have mental health problems. depression. or room odoriser). something unfortunate does happen to you.Buprenorphine (trade name Temgesic) is less sedating than methadone. or if you drive. usually only for a short period. Short-term effects: The effects are similar to getting drunk. Dependence: Tolerance and dependence may develop over a long period of time. and in very serious cases. and feelings of detachment are listed among the side effects of this drug. However this is not the case. There is a myth that because these are legal to produce and buy. unreal. and in some cases even death. which can lead to short and long term damage to your physical and mental health. serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain. coma and even death. and are often marketed as common household products (such as plant feed. Its main adverse effect is agitation. Solvents Solvents. In some people it may cause depression and suicidal feelings. forgetful and losing concentration. including feeling dizzy. First Steps . they can cause feelings of anxiety. Mephedrone (do not confuse with methadone – see above) Short-term effects: increases levels of dopamine. hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms. that they are safe to use. drugs and emotional well-being . If while taking these chemicals.
practice and commitment. Use other coping mechanisms which are better for your health. but you will feel worse off in the long term. and will help you to sort out any issues. and third is to recognise that you can change. they actually can make you feel much worse in the long term. Feelings of rage or frustration Expecting too much of yourself and negative thoughts and feelings What things could you increase or need to decrease? First Steps . so too does achieving mental fitness. Some feel good factors include: Making time for relaxation Being able to express your feelings Having achievable goals to aim for Making time for the things you enjoy Maintaining a healthy diet Starting a sport or exercise you enjoy Work you find rewarding A comfortable balance between work and leisure Time to yourself. second is valuing yourself. at home or at work Misusing drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms – it may help you to feel better in the short term. Maximise the things that make you feel good. However. such as talking to a friend or family member.Self-help tips for well-being People often misuse drugs or alcohol to try and improve their emotional well-being. There are other methods that can be used to improve emotional well-being that work just as well in both the short and long-term. drugs and emotional well-being . although drugs and alcohol may appear to help in the short-term. There are 3 basic principles in obtaining emotional wellbeing: the first is to maximise the things that make you feel good. and minimise the things that make you feel bad. Misusing drugs or alcohol to try and ignore/block out situations – you will only have to deal with the situation once your high wears off. and minimise (as far as practical) the things that make you feel bad. to do the things that interest you Time for friends and family Some things to minimise: Unnecessary stress. but just as achieving physical fitness takes time.12 - Alcohol. These methods can often be quite difficult to use at the beginning.
It is in our best interest to accept uncertainty and learn how to face the future with confidence. we don’t get to choose whether or not a bird lands on our heads. drugs and emotional well-being . There are three conditions for long-lasting change: a. Recognising that you can change Change is part of life.Valuing yourself Valuing yourself will help you to recognise the things in your life that you value and deserve and help you to build your life on a secure foundation. b. does not mean that we have to believe it or continue to think about it! First Steps . Just because we think a thought. Accept the uncertainty of the future: Much of the future is not under our control. It is our beliefs about these events that determine our emotional reaction. Understand the present: Don't hide from reality. Everyone deserves to have a life where you feel happy and secure. This is true of our thoughts as well. Unhelpful thoughts pop into our minds so quickly that it is often difficult to spot them. they must be true”. when we feel low in mood we are more likely to focus on negative things from the past. but are never fated to live or feel the same way forever. and then wonder why we are depressed. Do not allow it to weigh you down. Challenging negative thinking Events themselves do not cause us to feel upset or depressed. We have a tendency to think “If I think these thoughts. though.13 - Alcohol. Think of it this way. However. just that you recognise that thinking about it is not helpful to you. We become really good at ignoring any of the positive. We do get to choose. whether or not it makes a nest. but see the present clearly. c. Choosing to let go of the past does not mean that you accept or agree with what has happened. Do not be burdened by the past: The past cannot be changed. If you value yourself enough. you will know when to take action and make changes in your life and when to let go of problems that you cannot change or are not yours. We are all products of our environment and experience.
is there an alternative. Also making negative predictions about the future Negative focus. because it is often overlooked. regularly using words such as “should”.When we experience depression. whatever can go wrong will go wrong or a set back being part of a never-ending pattern of defeat Jumping to conclusions.g. leading to unnecessary guilt and disappointment. or good and bad with no middle ground and a tendency to judge people or events using general labels. drugs and emotional well-being . the more disappointed. Overestimating the chances of disaster. “I’m a failure” Catastrophizing. Making negative interpretations even though there are no definite facts. The more rigid these statements are. black and white. “ought”. Ignoring or misinterpreting positive aspects of a situation. we tend to think in any or all of the following ways.14 - Alcohol. here are some tips to help you… What is the evidence to support the unhelpful thought? What tells you that this thought is correct? What is the evidence that does not support the unhelpful thought? This is the hard part. but ask yourself these questions: How would someone else view the situation? How would I have viewed the situation in the past? What might I say to a friend who was in a similar situation? What is the effect of thinking the way I do? Does it help me or make me feel worse? Now.g. Focussing on your own weaknesses and forgetting your strengths Living by fixed rules. more helpful thought that could also be true to that situation… First Steps . Taking responsibility and blame for everything that goes wrong When trying to come up with a helpful thought. Thinking in absolutes. How many apply to you? All or nothing thinking. e. angry and depressed you are likely to feel Personalising. “He’s an idiot”. e. “must” and “can’t”. Fixed rules and unrealistic expectations.
Think about where you can take a break and spend some time on activities that are just for you.Support networks Social supports (friends. Keeping up your own interests and hobbies is a big part of managing your emotional well-being and allows you to give more to your family and friends. Increasing our social support is not simply a case of increasing our contact with more people as not all social contacts are positive. household tasks. families etc) can be an important way of increasing our mood. When a person feels low in their mood it is not uncommon for them to reduce their contact with their friends/family which can lead to social isolation and the associated negative effects on wellbeing. internet or email Doing activities which provide us with the opportunity to meet and choose new friends Sharing our experiences with the people around us Keeping a balance It is important to keep a balance between things that you have to get done like work. By doing these activities.15 - Alcohol. you will find enjoyment in things that don’t involve using alcohol or other substances. paying bills etc. family or colleagues Contacting friends via the telephone. drugs and emotional well-being . and the things that you enjoy and that help you to feel relaxed. First Steps . This is important for your emotional and physical well-being as it allows you to spend time doing things that you find rewarding. only meeting up with somebody who is very low and has a number of difficulties of their own may have an adverse affect on your mood. For example. fun and engaging. It is possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by others. Increasing our positive social contact could be through a number of ways including: Pushing ourselves to meet up with friends.
It is an alternative to being aggressive where you get what you want but hurt others. not having enough time for yourself. if you have a large source of stress in one area of your life that is filling your jug. and we can express personal opinions without feeling self-conscious. Being aware of your communication style with others is important as it will affect your relationship with them and also the way they communicate with you.16 Alcohol. etc). playing a sport or socialising.The ‘stress jug’ analogy As humans. If not. First Steps . (i. clear and assertive is likely to get better results when it comes to trying to express your opinion.e. we can say ‘no’ to others’ requests. We are unassertive because we have learned to be this way from childhood. but feel that you are unable to cope with any stresses at home or vice versa. could it be delegated to someone else or could your energy be better used elsewhere? Have time to relax. By learning to communicate effectively and assertively in your everyday life. we can express our emotions. Some children are encouraged to express their feelings and some are not. you can learn to be a different way. which is why you may feel less able to cope with matters that would normally have no effect on you. we only have a certain capacity for managing stress. You can empty a little out of your jug on a daily basis by using self-help techniques to: Look at your stressors to see if there is anything you can do to reduce the level of stress they produce or if you could manage them in a different way Identify if the stressful situation is really your responsibility. Being assertive means we can ask for what we want from others. you can avoid it ‘over-flowing’ which will help you to reduce your symptoms and to feel more in control. It may be that you are unable to change the main contributor to your stress. Some of your jug is already filled with the anxieties of life that we cannot avoid. your ability to manage any situation that arises is greatly compromised. illness. If you partially empty your jug on a daily basis. family. The fuller your jug is. but if you can do something about your other sources of stress. It is also an alternative to being passive where you don’t hurt others but you also do not get what you want. it is likely to be much easier to maintain this at times when you may be feeling stressed or low. Once the jug is full. for example. Being firm. This may be by completing a relaxation routine. your capacity to manage stress in the other areas will be compromised. drugs and emotional well-being . You may feel that you manage your stressful job very well. you will feel better able to cope. etc Communication and assertiveness Being assertive is a way of communicating your thoughts and feelings without hurting others. Therefore. the greater the symptoms of stress will be. They good news is that as you have learned to be this way. money. Imagine that all of your stress was in a jug.
then relax Jaw – clench teeth together. then relax Stomach – pull in your stomach muscles. this may make you feel more panicky.Relaxation exercises Breathing control Taking a deep breath at times of difficulty gives you time to recompose yourself and gather your thoughts. then relax Shoulders – hunch your shoulders up towards your ears hold. Now focus on your body. hold. whilst reducing your physical symptoms Irregular or erratic breathing is one of the first responses to severe stress. hold. bringing your hands up towards the shoulders. then relax Lips – press tightly together. then relax Eyes – screw up eyes tightly.As you exhale your stomach moves in slightly It will help to count as you breathe. pushing your neck back. hold. hold. hold. hold. hold. tensing and relaxing each of the muscle groups in the following order: Feet – point your toes away from your body. your breathing is easy to control Your stomach muscles should rise and fall as you breathe . then relax Forehead – frown hard. drugs and emotional well-being . Concentrate on the number three. hold then relax In each case. wrinkle forehead. as you feel the need to gasp for air. comfortable rhythm and try to avoid holding your breath in between each count Muscle relaxation Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths.As you inhale your stomach moves out slightly . Unfortunately. First Steps . hold. Maintain a steady. Breathe in for three counts and out for four counts. hold. as you relax the muscles feel the tension draining away.17 - Alcohol. then relax Hands (again) stretch the fingers wide apart. then relax Thighs – push your knees together. However. then relax Bottom – clench your buttocks together underneath you. then relax Calves – bend your foot at the ankle towards you. hold. which in turn makes you more anxious. hold. then relax Arms – bend your arms at the elbow. then relax Neck (again) stretch your chin up. Notice the difference between tension and relaxation. then relax Hands – clench your fists. hold. then relax Neck – pull your chin forwards on to your chest hold.
18 - Alcohol. Remember. and so don’t be put off or be hard on yourself if you find that you don’t always stick to the plan! S M A Specific Measurable Achievable By being clear about your target goal you will be able to take pride in achieving it Just wanting to “build up my social life” is not measurable. taking part in a dance class twice a week is. change is not always easy. even if you did not complete the goal. This really will have a positive impact on the success of building confidence and self-esteem. and there may be slips or lapses along the way. Recognise your limits. but it is important to start off by setting the right goals. Challenging yourself is great but don’t expect the impossible! The goal has to make sense to you and be something you feel is worthwhile and that applies to your views and lifestyle Think when the best time is for you to fit in your goals and try not to tackle too many goals at once R T Relevant Timely Goal setting is an on-going process E R Evaluate Redo Regularly look again at what has gone well or less well and why this might be the case Set new goals or adapt the ones you have.Goal setting Most people find that working towards realistic goals is motivating and satisfying. Give yourself a reward for what you achieve. if you set goals too high you are more likely to quit and feel that you failed. This is normal. but gave it a good shot! First Steps . drugs and emotional well-being .
Think about the purpose of the object and what makes it unique. a happy memory. size and colour. Focusing on your environment. taking a breath for each of the 3 steps. This could be a familiar place. 3. Anything that makes you focus your concentration away from the stressful thoughts will help. Mental exercises. start to make your way back up the steps. drugs and emotional well-being . such as counting backwards from a hundred. reciting a poem from memory. enjoying the feeling of relaxation When you feel ready.19 - Alcohol. think about its texture. Choose an object in your immediate environment and concentrate your thoughts on it for a while. taking a deep breath for each step You walk into an environment that you have come to associate with relaxation and calmness.Distraction techniques Taking a few minutes out of the stressful situation will allow you time to think clearly and rationally. doing some photocopying or cleaning your desk. practicing your times tables. shape. Give yourself a practical task to do. A quick way of getting away from a situation without physically leaving Imagine yourself walking to a door Open the door and walk down 3 steps. such as washing up the coffee cups. Describe the object to yourself. Physical activity. or somewhere in your dream What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you touch? Spend a few minutes in this place. distraction techniques may be useful. Removing yourself from a situation is not always possible or practical. 4. 2. Try using one of the following: 1. Make your way back through the door and back into the present situation First Steps . At this time. Be sure to focus your attention on the task. Visualisation.
or others. Also provides drug and alcohol services within the community for those looking to abstain their use or cut down their use.Useful contacts If you have any questions about your. want to access treatment for reducing or abstaining their own use. 7 days a week) A confidential helpline for all those living and working in Surrey who wants to find out more information about theirs or others drugs and alcohol use and abuse. This service also have a counselling service and run group therapy workshops. Provides signposting to local services which can offer more long term support. who are concerned about others or their own drug or alcohol use.uk 01483 590 150 Provides urgent advice in alcohol. drugs and emotional well-being .uk first. please contact one of the below organisations. First Steps . or who require emotional and practical support.Monday and Wednesday 10 to 4. drug or related situations. First Steps Surrey 0808 801 0325 .com 0800 77 66 00 SMS 82111 Provides confidential drugs advice and information to those worried about theirs or others drug or alcohol use. Also provide information on housing and tenancy issues.30pm and Thursday 11 to 5. SADAS – Southern Addictions Advisory Service (has various services countywide) www. Provides information on where to get more support if required.steps@nhs. would like to find out more information. FRANK www. and holds a large directory of local services.firststeps-surrey.30pm. This helpline can provide referrals into drug and alcohol services if required.sadas. www.org. drug use.talktofrank. Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care 0808 802 5000 (24 hours a day.nhs.20 - Alcohol. or would like to know where you can access more support or where to get help for stopping your own or others drug and alcohol use. The helpline will be open on a Tuesday following a Bank Holiday.net Provides advice and information on a wide range of emotional and mental health issues.
qualified education. parent and family workers. drugs and emotional well-being . assessment and other care planned interventions including 1:1 sessions and groups care planned structured interventions including structured psychosocial interventions and other structured drug treatment acts as a treatment referral point for Jobcentre Plus referrals signposting to other services sexual health supplies and advice training programmes on safer drug use services for those affected by other people's substance misuse. training and employment-support workers.org. They offer: a 24/7 emergency referral & crisis line for young people: 0800 622 6662 a confidential online referral form (anyone can refer. including triage. i. mental-health nurses and A&E link workers.catch-22.21 - Alcohol. They have a multi-professional staff team of specialist support workers. support and information brief interventions for drug & alcohol users. aged 11 to 21.org.uk/Services/Detail/247-Surrey firstname.lastname@example.org. offering a range of support for young people. training and employment specialists to open up new opportunities help for the family so they’re better able to support the young person access to prescribing and needle exchange services access to alternative therapies. based on an assessment of each young person’s needs specialist support for mental health problems access to our education. parents and carers Catch 22 – 24/7 Surrey 01372 832 888 or 0800 622 6662 (emergency referral and crisis line for young people and families) www. including the young people themselves) a prompt response before motivation falters and problems get worse a harm-reduction approach which informs young people about the effects of drug and alcohol misuse and the risks involved individually tailored help.SHOT – Surrey Harm Reduction Outreach Team (covers the South East and North West of Surrey) 01483 773242 Provides: needle exchange (including Performance & Imaging Enhancing Drugs) advice. who have problems with drugs or alcohol. social-work qualified workers. such as acupuncture social work qualified staff access to mentors and aftercare First Steps .uk 24/7 in Surrey is a county-wide specialist treatment service.
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