limit alcohol and other drugs to help your headspace

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When you limit alcohol and other drugs you can clear your mind, improve your energy, and boost your motivation. And, you have a better chance of keeping your headspace healthy.
Gus Paterson hyNRG
“When I started I could have a few drinks and just have a good time. But that developed into getting absolutely smashed. And blacking out. It started to dawn on me that not everyone was drinking as much as me.”
- Fergus Paterson hY NRG

Download our factsheet on drugs, alcohol and your mood


Alcohol and other drugs can seem like a normal part of life for many young people. We totally get it – it can be fun, lift your mood and boost your confidence.

But the issue is that these substances can also seriously harm your headspace. When the high wears off, the after-effect can leave you feeling worse than before. Anxiety can increase, your mood can drop and any difficulties with family or friends can be harder to manage.

If this sounds like you, it’s a good idea to look at whether your alcohol or drug use is playing a part.

Two friends leaning together on pavement
In fact, cutting back on alcohol and other drugs can be one of the most important things you can do for you headspace - but it isn’t always easy. If you’re having trouble quitting, or you want some help or advice, you should speak to your doctor or contact your local headspace.
Here’s how reducing, or cutting out, alcohol and other drugs can improve your headspace. It can:
  • keep your mind alert

  • stops the side effects of hangovers and come downs

  • improve your motivation

  • improve your sleep.

Ask an expert

how can I reduce my alcohol and other drug intake?

Professor Yvonne Bonomo is an Alcohol and other Drugs expert from St Vincent's Hospital:

  • Start by working out how alcohol or other drugs are impacting your life. Ask yourself: “Have I been anxious or upset more than usual? Could this be related to my alcohol or other drug use?”

  • Start slow. Try beginning with a short break (try a few days, then a week, then a month). This will help you reset and see the impact it's having.

  • Be patient. It might take a few days before you start to see positive changes.

  • Stay healthy. When you cut back it’s normal to feel a little off, so look after yourself – try to eat well, do a little bit of exercise, spend some time with people you care about.

  • When an urge comes up try to sit with it. Recognise: “OK, this usually happens before I drink or use drugs, but this time I'm not going to act on it”. The more you do this, the easier it becomes.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Whether you’re cutting back or quitting, it’s normal to have ups and downs. Lapses are common. Remember it’s a process and you learn every time you try again.
Gus Paterson hyNRG

Fergus Paterson

"After a particularly rough period, I was introduced to headspace. I spoke with a young counsellor who was just really helpful. He was aware of the issues that young people face. He told me how important it was to reduce my intake and have a strong support network around me.

I built my support network out from just headspace and included my family and girlfriend. It hasn’t been an easy process. But my support network has been so helpful."

Fergus - hY NRG member


Healthy habits

When you’re feeling low or stressed it’s important to put healthy habits in place that build your emotional strength – to help you for ride life’s ups and downs.

The headspace Clinical Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website.

Last reviewed 18 July 2018

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