Substances and Substance
Use Disorder in San Diego

About one-third of people experiencing a mental health challenge also misuse alcohol or other drugs. Learn more about substance-use disorder and discover the resources that are available to help.

Substance use disorder occurs when a person uses alcohol or another substance (such as opiates, prescription medication, or marijuana) to function. Missing school or work, losing interest in hobbies, thinking about the substance, and increasing irritability could indicate problem use. For people who become dependent, abruptly stopping the use of the substance may lead to discomfort and other withdrawal symptoms.

Call 911 for emergency care or
go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Learn About Common Substances

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    How Substance Use Affects Mental Health

    See the individual effects of some substances.


    Alcohol overuse can cause depression, irritability, and sleeplessness.


    Opioid misuse can lead to dependence because the body needs more and more to feel normal.


    Meth decreases dopamine levels, which can make it harder to feel any emotions.

    Mental Health Challenges and Substance Misuse