Coping with comedowns

The high can be so goddamn high that it might make you forget about reality for a while. Unfortunately, that reality is waiting to smack you on the head as soon as you come down. After a high, a comedown is the last thing you want to experience. But, as Newton said - what goes up, must come down, it’s basic gravity. Don’t worry though, we’ll help you through it.

A young man is sitting at a desk. He has his hand on his head. He is suffering from a comedown. This is a close-up image.

What are drug comedowns? 

Obviously, the best way to avoid drug comedowns is not to take any drugs in the first place. But if you’re planning a big, drug-filled weekend then make sure you’ve got the facts – including the risks involved.

Comedown symptoms are slightly different from withdrawal symptoms, but still related. They’re kinda like third cousins.

A comedown happens when the effects of the drug wears off. So, it’s like an acute withdrawal. It’s basically your body telling you it’s been *slightly* poisoned – drugs are toxic substances, after all, and your system has to work hard to restore balance. Hence the head feeling like a lead weight and the need to lie down.

A comedown can feel good and be a pleasant way to chill out with mates, but you can’t always guarantee a gentle landing. The effects of a comedown are entirely dependent on the drug that’s taken and the person that’s taken it. That’s why it’s good to prepare yourself for all eventualities. To find out about HOW to prepare yourself with Drugs First Aid, click here

Coming up safely 

Before you take the plunge, 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 A&E. The more the medics know, the better it’ll be for you.

Avoid wandering off on your own when you’re high – if you come down with a crash then you’ll be thankful to have friends around you.

Major Disclaimer: Steer clear of alcohol – mixing booze with any drug can complicate the comedown. For more info, click here.

And then coping with the comedown… 

The drugs have worn off and you feel like crashing out. Now what?

Harm reduction is key. Firstly, it’s time to replenish your worn-out body. When you feel up to it, aim to eat a healthy balanced meal. At the same time, keep sipping water, a rehydration drink or orange juice (which is rich in vitamin C – something that you’re often lacking after living it large).

Cannabis is a popular comedown choice amongst seasoned clubbers to mitigate comedown symptoms, 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 either. They can slow down the body system and have fatal consequences when mixed with other drugs or alcohol (which also has a depressant effect).

MDMA comedown 

An MDMA comedown is slightly different. You may feel slightly low or even quite depressed in the days that follow. Personally, we recommend having a friend around for those moments, just to help you out. It’s also worth mentioning that ecstasy or MDMA can contain a bunch of other substances which may affect the comedown.

MDMA comedowns can also lead to a possible spike in body temperature and blood pressure. This is because your body is under stress while it’s trying to recover. Now, you’re probably wondering ‘How long does a comedown last?’ Well, it’s usually between 2-3 days before you’re 100%, but don’t quote us on that – every person is different.

When your friend is suffering badly from comedowns

Some people have worse comedowns than others. Either they feel so low that they can’t even get themselves out of bed or have a short temper. They see no end in sight. Thankfully, this level of comedown is not very common. Even if this doesn’t happen to you, it’s useful to know how to deal with this if a mate of yours is really suffering:

  • Most importantly, try and explain to your friend what they’re going through. Stress that it’s a temporary spell. And if they ask ‘How long does a comedown last?’, then you’re already ready with the knowledge. 
  • Prepare some healthy meals to replenish the vitamin store in their body. It’s especially good to feed them 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.

Next Steps


drug risks

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 31-Aug-2021