Keeping Well

Sooner or later, when you use a lot of a particular drug or use more often, the good feelings can become unpleasant feelings like anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, or even aggression. Or after a comedown, your brain can tell you it wants more of the drug when another part of your brain knows that probably isn't a good idea for your life. In varying ways, drugs can reduce your brain’s ability to recognise what it really needs.

A simple solution is HALTS, which involves taking a moment to ask yourself five questions...

Hungry Have I had enough to eat today?
Angry Am I feeling angry about something?
Lonely Am I feeling lonely and need company?
Tired Do I need to go to sleep or have a rest?
Stressed Do I feel stressed about something?

A word of caution

Ignoring HALTS, and instead dealing with unwanted feelings or cravings, at any time, by using more of whatever drug you're using, might feel like it fixes the problem. But it can simply lead to worse feelings later and a longer comedown. Then you could be tempted to use more again, forming into a pattern which can become an endless loop.

BenYou don’t realise how much it’s consumed you until you’re clean.

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Signs you might be using too much

  • Your study, work or home responsibilities are sliding because of your drug use (e.g. skipping class or work, or neglecting your children).

  • Your drug use is getting you into trouble with the law, such as arrests for disorderly behaviour, driving under the influence, or stealing to get money for drugs.

  • You’ve built up a tolerance which means you need more of the drug to feel the effect you want.

  • You’ve stopped doing the stuff you used to love doing, like previous interests, sport, and social activities. Instead, you've given that time to use drugs.

  • Your life revolves around using drugs and doing what ever it is that you do on drugs. You spend way too much time using, thinking about, planning to get, or recovering from the effects of drugs.

  • If you go too long without drugs, you experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, or anxiety.

  • You do more drugs, more often than you told yourself you should. You may want to stop using, but you've lost or are losing control.

  • Your relationships are strained because of your drug use. This could include fights with your partner or whānau members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends.

  • You're embarrassed or ashamed about the stuff you do when high; like driving high, using dirty needles, hanging with people you normally wouldn't, having sex for drugs, or risky sex.

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You start off and you don’t care about what you’re losing and I think for me, I started wanting to just be fucked up and different.