Coping techniques for depression

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

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    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
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    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
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    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
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    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

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Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. NSDUH estimates allow researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and the general public to better understand and improve the nation’s behavioral health. These reports and detailed tables present estimates from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).



  • Among the 133.1 million current alcohol users aged 12 or older in 2021, 60.0 million people (or 45.1%) were past month binge drinkers. The percentage of people who were past month binge drinkers was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (29.2% or 9.8 million people), followed by adults aged 26 or older (22.4% or 49.3 million people), then by adolescents aged 12 to 17 (3.8% or 995,000 people). (2021 NSDUH)
  • Among people aged 12 to 20 in 2021, 15.1% (or 5.9 million people) were past month alcohol users. Estimates of binge alcohol use and heavy alcohol use in the past month among underage people were 8.3% (or 3.2 million people) and 1.6% (or 613,000 people), respectively. (2021 NSDUH)
  • In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (i.e., current alcohol users) (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61.6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)
  • The percentage of people who were past month binge alcohol users was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (31. 4%) compared with 22.9% of adults aged 26 or older and 4.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of stroke, liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, cancer, and other serious health conditions
  • Excessive alcohol use can also lead to risk-taking behavior, including driving while impaired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver daily


  • STOP Underage Drinking interagency portal - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Talk. They Hear You.
  • Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts
  • Talking with your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol

Relevant links:

  • National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
  • Department of Transportation Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance
  • Alcohol Policy Information Systems Database (APIS)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism



  • In 2020, 20. 7% of people aged 12 or older (or 57.3 million people) used nicotine products (i.e., used tobacco products or vaped nicotine) in the past month (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among past month users of nicotine products, nearly two thirds of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (63.1%) vaped nicotine but did not use tobacco products. In contrast, 88.9% of past month nicotine product users aged 26 or older used only tobacco products (2020 NSDUH)
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, often leading to lung cancer, respiratory disorders, heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States
  • The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health reports that more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking cigarettes

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use data:

  • In 2021, 13.2 million people aged 12 or older (or 4.7%) used an e-cigarette or other vaping device to vape nicotine in the past month. The percentage of people who vaped nicotine was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (14.1% or 4.7 million people), followed by adolescents aged 12 to 17 (5.2% or 1.4 million people), then by adults aged 26 or older (3.2% or 7.1 million people).
  • Among people aged 12 to 20 in 2021, 11.0% (or 4.3 million people) used tobacco products or used an e-cigarette or other vaping device to vape nicotine in the past month. Among people in this age group, 8.1% (or 3.1 million people) vaped nicotine, 5.4% (or 2.1 million people) used tobacco products, and 3.4% (or 1.3 million people) smoked cigarettes in the past month. (2021 NSDUH)
  • Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Among both middle and high school students, current use of e-cigarettes declined from 2019 to 2020, reversing previous trends and returning current e-cigarette use to levels similar to those observed in 2018
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women, especially because they contain nicotine and other chemicals


  • Tips for Teens: Tobacco
  • Tips for Teens: E-cigarettes
  • Implementing Tobacco Cessation Programs in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Settings
  • Synar Amendment Program


  • Truth Initiative
  • FDA Center for Tobacco Products
  • CDC Office on Smoking and Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Tobacco, Nicotine, and E-Cigarettes
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: E-Cigarettes



  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 3. 3% (or 9.2 million people) misused opioids (heroin or prescription pain relievers) in the past year. Among the 9.2 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 8.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers compared with 1.1 million people who used heroin. These numbers include 574,000 people who both misused prescription pain relievers and used heroin in the past year. (2021 NSDUH)
  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 3.4% (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year. Among the 9.5 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 9.3 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 902,000 people used heroin (2020 NSDUH)
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Understanding the Epidemic, an average of 128 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose


  • Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
  • TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings
  • Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy
  • Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants
  • The Facts about Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction
  • Pregnancy Planning for Women Being Treated for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Tips for Teens: Opioids
  • Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants
  • Tribal Opioid Response Grants
  • Provider’s Clinical Support System - Medication Assisted Treatment Grant Program


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioids
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Heroin
  • HHS Prevent Opioid Abuse
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network
  • Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network



  • In 2021, marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with 18. 7% of people aged 12 or older (or 52.5 million people) using it in the past year. The percentage was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (35.4% or 11.8 million people), followed by adults aged 26 or older (17.2% or 37.9 million people), then by adolescents aged 12 to 17 (10.5% or 2.7 million people).
  • The percentage of people who used marijuana in the past year was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (34.5%) compared with 16.3% of adults aged 26 or older and 10.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • Marijuana can impair judgment and distort perception in the short term and can lead to memory impairment in the long term
  • Marijuana can have significant health effects on youth and pregnant women.


  • Know the Risks of Marijuana
  • Marijuana and Pregnancy
  • Tips for Teens: Marijuana

Relevant links:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Centers on Marijuana
  • CDC Marijuana and Public Health

Emerging Trends in Substance Misuse:

  • Methamphetamine—In 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • Cocaine—In 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
  • Kratom—In 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.


  • Tips for Teens: Methamphetamine
  • Tips for Teens: Cocaine
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse

More SAMHSA publications on substance use prevention and treatment.

Last Updated: 01/05/2023


There are many ways for a person to get out of depression on their own. Consider this issue in more detail, having studied the recommendations listed below and applying them in your life.

1. Maintain healthy relationships

Support from people who love and care for you is an important part of the recovery process. Share your feelings with people you trust and tell them that you would appreciate their understanding and sympathy. It will be quite difficult for those close to you to help you if you are secretive, and much that you will do will seem strange and inexplicable to them. If they are aware of your problem, it will help them to treat you more condescendingly, and they will purposefully support you. nine0003

Tell your loved ones honestly about those attacks of irritability that have been haunting you lately. Ask them not to be offended if you direct your irritation against them, explaining that this is nothing personal, you just need some time to get your emotions under control. Perhaps you should agree that, having experienced irritation, you will go out into another room, and your interlocutor will not interfere with you being alone for some time?

Find a good psychologist, you can entrust all your thoughts and feelings to him, and he will teach you how to live through this period of your life correctly. If you do not have the opportunity to turn to a psychologist, then think about which of your friends or relatives you could talk completely openly about your feelings. It happens that a depressed person wants to find a way out of the impasse, but simply does not see it. And in a confidential conversation, he can receive information that will change the course of his thoughts, and the way out will become obvious. nine0003

You must understand that when you are depressed, you should limit as much as possible contact with people whose views on life are predominantly pessimistic. Even if someone is just in a bad mood, you should not enter into a dialogue with this person today. Stay away from negative people until your mood becomes more stable.

And vice versa, try to spend as much time as possible in the company of optimistic people, next to whom you will feel especially comfortable. Talk to people who see the world in a positive way, ask them to share their vision of some problems, ideas, worldview and approach to life. Most of them will be more than happy to share with you what helps them stay optimistic. And you listen and learn from them! nine0003 2. Change your behavior

To return to your old life, you need to stop doing what you are doing now. You must change your behavior, and only then will your mood change.

3. Find something to do

Try to avoid idleness. Keeping busy is the best way to prevent negative thoughts that may come into your head during the day. For a person who is depressed, the first step to finding something to do can be very difficult, because depression is characterized by a loss of interest in everything. But this is necessary if you decide to help yourself get out of depression. nine0003

  • Find a hobby and try to learn as much as you can about what interests you. Immerse yourself in your favorite business entirely, devoting all your free time to it.
  • Schedule your entire day by making a schedule for the things you need to do. Do this every day, doing the planned without fail. Expand the range of tasks as soon as you feel a little better. And it doesn’t matter at all whether you have a working day tomorrow or a day off - every day should be scheduled so that there is not a single minute left when you could feel empty and useless. nine0035
4. Do things that make you feel good

There are times when you convince yourself that you don't deserve anything that you could enjoy. As an antidote to this devastating feeling, your immediate action should be to do what could give you pleasure. One pleasure a day is your minimum program!

Like everything else, start small. One pleasant thing a day, like watching your favorite comedy or reading a funny book, can give you a boost of fun, if only for a little while. nine0003

Plan positive events in your life. Write down in your schedule an invitation to a friend for a holiday dinner, going to the movies or going out with friends. Gradually increase the number of events and activities that are pleasant for you. You yourself will not notice how you begin to experience joy more and more often.

5. Help others

This is one of the best ways to get out of depression. By helping other people who are in trouble and need someone's support, you will more easily survive your difficulties. Having to think about people who are having serious problems will help you focus less on how you feel, which is especially useful if you are too prone to introspection and self-flagellation. nine0003

Just don't overdo it. If you feel that being involved in charitable activities makes you feel exhausted, then this may be a sign that you are not yet ready to help others. This does not mean that you cannot help others; this means that you still need to take care of yourself first.

6. Change Negative Thinking Patterns

Understanding the importance of overcoming negative thinking is a very important aspect of dealing with depression. Depression is characterized by information processing bias. We are talking about a tendency to independently choose a distorted and sharply negative point of view on any stimulus, which only further strengthens depression. nine0003 7. Change Your Mindset

You need to change your habit of thinking negatively and create a mindset that will support your self-esteem and increase your self-confidence. Of course, it would be best to read about this in the relevant literature or talk to knowledgeable people. But there are some things that will help you look at things differently if you keep them in mind:

  • Recognize that depression will pass. This can be a very difficult step, but it is very important because this confession will help you begin to exorcise thoughts of the hopelessness of your situation. nine0035
  • List all your virtues. When you're depressed, it's easy to underestimate your positive qualities. Take a sheet of paper and write down on it all the good things you remember about yourself. List achievements of the past and hopes for the future. If you can't remember anything, ask a person who is especially close to you to write the beginning of this list for you. Self-acceptance is an important part of recovering from depression, so you must accept that there is so much good in you, as well as recognize that no one and nothing can be perfect. This will help you stop judging yourself more harshly than anyone else. nine0035
  • Making decisions is very little, you also need to start acting. Again, although this can be very difficult during depression, it is vital in overcoming feelings of helplessness. Start small: make the decision to get out of bed - and get up; invite friends to visit, clean up the kitchen - all this will bring you closer to healing. As soon as you begin to act and fulfill your plans, each of your actions will become your achievement.
  • nine0033 Try to organize your thoughts. Write down different thoughts - whatever comes to mind. Can I assume that the worst will happen? Can I blame myself for something bad happening? Can I only focus on my weaknesses and forget about my strengths? It is very useful at the same time to distribute your thoughts in two columns - write down only negative thoughts in one column, inscribing rational thoughts in the other.
  • Reflect on times when you were able to respond constructively to a problem without feeling angry, fearful, or powerless. Recreate and write down the sequence of your thoughts, thereby creating a template for yourself by which you will learn to think positively, not following a depressive pattern of behavior in the future. nine0035
8. Look for the good in your life

Use the following exercise to learn how to perceive life more positively. Sit back, turn on your favorite music and start thinking about the good things that happened in your life. You can take paper and write down every event, every thing that is meaningful to you - everything that brought you joyful memories. Return to this list again and again, each time trying to replenish it with new items.

At first, it may be quite a bit - for example, "my house" or "my spouse." But over time, this list will grow as you begin to notice more of all the joyful aspects of life. You will learn to cut off unpleasant memories and thoughts of unhappiness, giving preference to thoughts of good. nine0003 9. Other options

You should not be limited to any specific methods of dealing with depression. Try to use every opportunity for healing.

  • Music is a form of self-help, because it is known to have a strong influence on our mood. Choose music that lifts your spirits. Resist the temptation to cry to the sad tune; switch to more upbeat, upbeat music, and even try singing along or dancing along. Bad mood as a hand will remove! nine0035
  • Art therapy is another popular alternative treatment for depression. Draw, dance, sing, write poetry - transfer your feelings to canvas or paper, splashing them out from the secret corners of your soul. Such self-expression helps to get rid of mental pain.
  • Pet care can help too. Pet society helps prevent feelings of isolation; they do not judge us for our mistakes and are always ready to share their boundless love. Even if you don't have a pet of your own, you can try to make friends with your neighbor's cat or your friend's dog by regularly spending some of your free time with them. nine0035
10. Go Forward

Find your own paths to emotional wholeness. There are many ways to find your way out of depression, and there is a lot of information on the subject that can help you. However, the most important thing you must do is to look deep inside yourself and find what really works for you. That is why it is useful to keep a diary of your recovery process, which will help determine the best approach to solving your problem. nine0003

Agree that depression may return. Getting rid of it is a complex and sometimes long process, and you must understand this. Be prepared to heed the warning signs and take positive action to deal with depression before it returns. It is important not to give up; your goal should be to minimize the impact of depression and its duration.

Talk to other people who are also depressed. Now that you have learned to control your depression, you can help others manage their condition. Try to convince them that what they experience can be learned to change for the better, and that there is light at the end of even the darkest tunnel. By helping, you can heal yourself faster. nine0003

One can only feel respect for those people who stubbornly follow the path of getting rid of depression. They show real courage to get out of the darkness. And they really deserve to live happily ever after!

Author: Pavlenko S.N.

Ways to deal with depression

Category: Mental health.

Everyone can indulge in overwhelming melancholy from time to time, but if you are constantly prone to a sad, depressive mood, you still have hope for improvement. In this article, we want to share with you the most effective ways to fight depression, although in any case, the best treatment is always prevention. nine0137

You can control your thoughts and emotions. And learn to visualize more successful scenarios instead of drowning in negativity. Simple and effective exercises will teach you self-discipline, relaxation and ways to reprogram the habit of thinking negatively.

1. Focus on right, not wrong. Find the positive in any problem! This skill can be developed through visualization and self-talk. nine0003

2. Be grateful for everything in your life, both good and bad. The good gives you joy, and the bad teaches you a lesson and makes the good even more pleasant (if there were no bad, we would not appreciate the good).

3. Do not exaggerate the scale of the tragedy. No matter how big your problems seem to you, chances are that you, like most of us, tend to exaggerate the scale of the problem. Most of what worries you now will probably be forgotten in a couple of months or a couple of years. Look at the situation in perspective: are your current problems really that important, or will they soon be forgotten? nine0003

4. Make changes to your daily routine. Monotony contributes to depressive mood. Have a "mental health day" and do something out of the ordinary. Try something new. Seek adventure or get involved in something that makes you very happy. Get to work by a different route. Eat dessert first.

5. Associate with positive, cheerful people. Nothing contributes to depression like associating with people who are prone to depression! Thoughts - both positive and negative - are contagious, so try to associate with people who love laughter, adventure, games, enjoy life and see the best in everything. nine0003

6. Remember your past successes; and also about past difficulties that you managed to overcome. You have enjoyed the ups and survived the downs. What contributed to your success? How did you manage to overcome difficulties? Learn from both your mistakes and your achievements.

7. Exercise. The charge of endorphins ("hormones of happiness") that you receive is a powerful antidepressant that nature itself gives you! Depression leads to lethargy, and you can replenish your energy reserves through exercise. Even if you don't feel like exercising, force yourself to do at least something - it doesn't have to be a high-intensity workout - the main thing is that you make progress. A leisurely walk through the sunny streets is a great way to cheer up. nine0003

8. Play outside. Spend time in nature. Spend time with animals (they charge you with their good energy).

9. Change the script. Like monotony in the daily routine, monotony in the environment can contribute to depressive mood. Rearrange the furniture. Re-hang the pictures. Add more light to dark, depressing rooms. Use bright, cheerful colors in clothing and/or accessories.

10. Smile more. When you wake up in the morning, greet your reflection in the bathroom mirror with a big smile. Smiling causes a certain physiological reaction - you automatically become happier! Every time you frown or when tears well up in your eyes, smile at yourself and tell yourself "I love you.

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