The University of Bolton Student Services

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Resources brought together by the Life Lounge team

The consumption of alcohol and drugs can have significant impacts on a person's mental and physical health and wellbeing, but we know that many people use substances to help them cope with emotional and mental wellbeing issues.

Alcohol and drugs (illicit and prescribed) can affect the chemicals in our brain that are vital for good mental and physical health. We know it can feel good having a drink, but in the long run drinking too much can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health. Alcohol is a depressant and so can lead to increased feelings of low mood and anxiety, increasing our stress levels. That's why we often feel so much worse the morning after we have got drunk.

Different illicit and prescribed substances have different effects on our biochemistry too, sometimes short term and some times leading to longer term issues.  

It's really important to be reliably informed and aware of the effects and risks associated with the use of substances, so that we can make decisions to keep ourselves safe and recognise when we might need to change our behaviours or even access support to change our substance use.

Alcohol Use

Attitudes towards alcohol use can be very diverse, including across different cultures, backgrounds and different age groups or generations. Alcohol can sometimes be seen as a simple part of socialising, but it can  impact us all in different ways, and our consumption can easily get out of control, causing negative mental and physical health concerns.

DrinkAware.co.uk website independently explains how alcohol can impact you physically and mentally, the law around alcohol consumption, and how to monitor and reduce your consumption. It has various tools and support information if you wanted to understand your alcohol consumption or change your alcohol use.

Want to better understand your drinking habits?

Your alcohol consumption could potentially impact your mood, sleep, weight, appetite and mental and physical health in the short and long term. It can also impact other aspects of your daily life like studying, employment, relationships and more.

Most of us don't have any idea what the health guidance is about alcohol consumption, what safe consumption is let alone how much we are actually drinking. It is really important to understand how much you drink as this will help you understand the effects this may have on your life.

https://www.drinksmeter.com/ - The drinks meter app provides you with instant feedback on your drinking. It compares your drinking against the Drinks Meter community to give unbiased, anonymous feedback.

Are you looking for local support services which can support you in reducing your alcohol intake?​

Take a look at the Achieve service by Greater Manchester Mental Health Service.

01204 483090

0161 358 1530

0161 358 0991


0161 271 0020


You can find other support groups nationally by visiting the Alcoholics-Anonymous website. AA is concerned solely with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of individual alcoholics who turn to the Fellowship for help. Alcoholics Anonymous does not engage in the fields of alcoholism research, medical or psychiatric treatment, education, or advocacy in any form, although members may participate in such activities as individuals.

Are you interested in knowing more about alcohol addiction or dependency?

If you are concerned that you are finding it hard to reduce your alcohol intake, and may have developed a dependency or addiction, the services above can help. You can also click here to read the charity Mind's information on addiction and dependency.

Drug Use

There are so many drugs out there, it is important for us to understand the physical, psychological, social, financial and even criminal consequences of drugs. Legal drugs, prescription drugs, illegal drugs! Plus people in different areas use different names to describe the same drug. It can be really confusing.

Drugs, much like alcohol, are used by different people for different reasons, fun, peer pressure or to cope with difficult experiences. But, what is most important is that we understand the impact on our health, wellbeing and lifestyles short and long term. This section gives you information to enable you to find out more about different types of drugs, and also where to seek help and support if drug use is affecting your life.


Talktofrank  is a great webpage with an A-Z of drugs, a phoneline to access support, information about who to manage peer pressure and where to access support. Importantly the A-Z section explains the law in relation to different drugs. Whilst it may be fun, interesting and even exciting to use drugs drug related convictions can have long reaching consequences in our lives.

We are with you  Get free, confidential support with alcohol, drugs or mental health from one of their local services or online. Visit their webpage to see what they have to offer.


The Drugs Meter APP  provides you with instant feedback on your drug use. It compares your drug use against the Drugs Meter community to give unbiased, anonymous feedback.


Are you looking for local support services which can support you in reducing your illicit substance/drug intake?​

Take a look at the Achieve service by Greater Manchester Mental Health Service.

01204 483090

0161 358 1530

0161 358 0991


0161 271 0020

Narcotics Anonymous is similar to AA but address illicit drug use. Check out the web page and find local groups in your area. They help people to become free of drug use and provide the support of peers, and a sponsor to get you through.


Cocaine Anonymous  is similar to AA and NA but addresses Cocaine use. Visit their webpage to find out more about their services and groups in your local area. Did you know that when you mix alcohol and cocaine it creates another chemical in your body called Cocaethylene. Cocaethylene is known to cause people to feel agitated, and become aggressive, often leading to violence. Cocaethylene can force your heart rate and blood pressure to higher levels than cocaine alone would. Even for perfectly healthy people, this can increase the chance of seizures, heart attacks and strokes. For anyone with an underlying heart condition, this is extremely risky.


ChemSex means using drugs as part of your sex life, and it's most common among gay and bi men. There are typically three specific 'chems' (drugs) involved. People say these drugs make them feel less inhibited and increase pleasure. 

ChemSex involves the use of one or more of the following drugs:

•             Methamphetamine 

Methamphetamine is a stimulant. It's also known as crystal meth, crystal, meth, tina and crank.

People take crystal meth by swallowing, snorting, injecting or smoking it. It makes them feel alert and aroused, but can also make them feel agitated and paranoid. 

Methamphetamine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure which can lead to heart problems. There have also been reports of psychosis from taking methamphetamine. There is evidence of long-term mental health problems and brain damage. You can die if you overdose. It's highly addictive too.

•             Mephedrone

Mephedrone is a stimulant too. It's know as meph, drone or meow meow.

People usually take mephedrone by snorting it, but they also swallow, smoke and inject it too. It makes people feel alert, aroused, confident and euphoric. It can make people feel sick, anxious and paranoid too.  

Mephedrone can make you vomit or give you a headache. It can cause hallucinations, insomnia, reduced appetite, dizziness and sweating. It's also addictive.

•             GBL/GHB

GHB and GBL are sedatives. Their full names are gammahydroxybutyrate and gammabutyrolactone, and they're also known as G, gina, geebs and liquid ecstasy.

GHB and GBL are usually an oily liquid that people mix with a drink and swallow. They make people feel euphoric, less inhibited and sometimes sleepy too. 

With GHB and GBL it's difficult to know how much of the drug you're taking so it's easy to overdose. The overdose can make you pass out and in some cases it can be fatal.

Information indicates that for the majority of people ChemSex is enjoyable and with limited risks, however there is growing evidence indicating that there are risks involved that individuals may want to seek support for prior to or following engaging with ChemSex.


Below are services that can support you if you are engaging in ChemSex and would like to understand the risks or seek support:-



Alcohol and Drug Use - Support for families

Are you worried about someone close to you and how much they use substances? It can be really hard to know how to start the conversation, how to approach the subject and where to go for support. Most of the above services will help you, you can also talk to your GP or the local drug and alcohol team for advice and guidance.


We have found the below websites which are particularly useful for getting advice about someone else or if you are a parent worried about your child's substance use.