IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Travel and Substance Use

Photo By: Erika Uffer

Know how to deal with substance use

Travel does not cause substance dependence, although it may provide an opportunity to misuse psychoactive substances or generate a relapse in addiction survivors. Using mood altering substances that affect your perception, behaviour, and functioning during travel puts you and others at risk. Lack of unfamiliar support networks, language barriers, and cultural perceptions toward substance use can make it difficult to seek appropriate medical attention. In addition to managing travel stress, recognizing the warning signs of substance abuse and / or dependence and how to get help abroad, are key to a safe trip.

Factors affecting mental health during travel

Even if you don't have a prior history of mental illness, travel stress, mood changes, anxiety and other mental health concerns can unexpectedly affect you and potentially disrupt your trip.

Studies show that psychiatric emergencies are the leading cause for air evacuations along with injuries and cardiovascular disease.

Your mental and physical health prior to, and during, a trip determines how well you will cope with travel stress. Consider the following:

IAMAT's travel and mental health series

The Travel and Substance Use whitepaper is part of our Travel and Mental Health Series. Inside you'll find tips for managing substance use, including how to travel with medications. Other whitepapers in the series address travel stress, travel and depression, travel and anxiety, and travel and psychosis, all available from our eLibrary.


Travel Health Journal