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Drug Information - Comedowns

If you're going hard all weekend, be prepared for the downsides as well as the upsides.

The easy way

Obviously, the best way to avoid drug comedowns is not to take any drugs in the first place. But if you are planning a big weekend which involves drugs then make sure you're armed with the facts - including the risks involved

What are comedowns?

A comedown occurs when the effects of your drugs wear off. It's basically your body telling you it's been poisoned - drugs are toxic substances, after all, and your system has to work hard to restore order. Hence the head feeling like a lead weight and the need to lie down.

Festival wise, this tends to mean watching the sunrise over the World Stage wondering why you hadn't got into Mongolian throat singing before. A comedown can be a pleasant way to chill out with mates, but you can't always guarantee a gentle landing. That's why it's good to prepare yourself for all eventualities.

The up bit

Before you drop, familiarise yourself with the festival/club layout. Make sure you arrange meeting points with mates and have enough cash to buy water and food. Tell your mates what you're taking, in case it goes horribly wrong and you wind up in the casualty. The more the medics know, the more effective the treatment. Avoid wandering off on your own when you're up - if you come down with a crash then you'll be thankful for having friends around you. Steer clear of alcohol - mixing booze with any drug can complicate the comedown.

The down bit

The drugs have worn off and you feel like crashing out. Now what? It's time to replenish your battered body. When you feel up to it, aim to eat a healthy balanced meal. At the same time, keep sipping water, an isotonic drink or orange juice (which is rich in vitamin C - something that's often lacking in your system after living it large).

Cannabis is a popular comedown choice amongst seasoned clubbers, but it doesn't suit everyone. With some people, cannabis can mess with the effects of other drugs, especially alcohol, making it hard to predict how you'll feel.

Sleeping pills and antidepressants don't make good comedown companions. Downers like this slow down the body system and can have fatal consequences when mixed with other drugs or alcohol (which also has a depressant effect).

If you're coming down from ecstasy, you may feel slightly low or even quite depressed in the days that follow.

When your friend is suffering badly

Some people have worse comedowns than others. They feel so low and unhappy that they can't even get themselves out of bed. They get pissed off easily and angry with everyone. They see no end in sight and just want to cry all day. Thankfully, this level of comedown is not very common. However, it is useful to know how to deal with this if a mate of yours is really suffering:

  • Most importantly, explain to your friend what is happening physically to them. Stress that it's a temporary spell and that they will feel much better in a day or two.
  • Prepare some healthy meals to replace the depleted vitamins you have both been giving up for the sake of partying. Especially good is foods with brain chemical 5-htp (like bananas). You can also buy 5-htp tablets in health food stores.
  • Rent funny movies. Laughing helps.
  • Ensure your mate gets lots of sleep.

Advice and support

Talk to Frank gives free information and advice about drugs. Call 0800 776600.

The charity Releasegives advice on drugs and legal problems - their helpline number is 020 7749 4034.

Ask your GP - many areas have Community Drug Teams which provide a drop-in or phone information service.

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