Drugs & Alcohol Following A Breakup

Mind-Altering Escape:
Drugs, Alcohol & Medicines

It’s natural that you want to dull the pain and try to escape. A magic pill to make it all go away would be great.

But it doesn’t exist: only time – a lot of it - and your own effort will do it. Drugs, alcohol, pills... it won’t help.


Really, don’t do it.

You’re not going to solve anything, your life won’t get better, and it won’t even help you escape your pain and sadness (in my case, it just exacerbated my depression until I realized how stupid I was being by taking all that stuff).


And they all bring lots of problems of their own… and the last thing you want following a breakup is more problems.

Prescription medicines

As for legal medicine… there’s a lot of controversy about different medicines. I address sleeping pills in the section under Health/Sleep, so take a look there.

Anti-anxiety pills such as Xanax are another common post breakup medicine. It does relax you initially, which might be beneficial if you are extremely anxious following the breakup, but it’s a crutch for a very short period only, has many potential problems and doesn’t solve any of the underlying issues.

Depression medication is another controversial remedy. Some people swear it helps them and they’re unhappy without, others point out the side effects, the long time it takes before any benefits are perceived, and the limited evidence of any widely verified benefit above the placebo effect.

If you’re thinking about medicine, research on your own and talk to an experienced doctor.

One other medicine to mention is over-the-counter painkillers: aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, etc. In the section of this guide on the physical effects of the breakup, I discussed the current scientific understanding based on MRI brain scans that the pain of romantic rejection activates the same areas of the brain as intense physical pain, such as burning yourself or being hit hard.

This same research has also shown that painkillers can help dull the feelings of emotional pain just as they dull physical pain.

A problem with this, though, is that your own constant thinking about the breakup will cause more pain (as far as your brain is concerned, thinking about the breakup is similar to hitting yourself over and over), so the pain-relief benefits of aspirin and other pain-killers might be overwhelmed by your own thinking. But it’s an idea worth considering when the pain is so strong.