Depression and victim mentality

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

Your browser is not supported

Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari

Main page content

  • 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

    What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
    Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. Answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different types of treatment, and recovery. Addresses concerns of children of parents with substance use/abuse problems.

    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
    Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.

    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Your browser is not supported

Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari

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. SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.



  • 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)
  • The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 139.7 million Americans age 12 or older were past month alcohol users, 65.8 million people were binge drinkers in the past month, and 16 million were heavy drinkers in the past month
  • About 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2019 drank alcohol in the past month, and 1.2 million of these adolescents binge drank in that period (2019 NSDUH)
  • Approximately 14.5 million people age 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder (2019 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)
  • Data from the 2019 NSDUH reports that 58.1 million people were current (i.e., past month) tobacco users. Specifically, 45.9 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 were past month cigarette smokers (2019 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:

  • 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 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)
  • An estimated 745,000 people had used heroin in the past year, based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • In 2019, there were 10.1 million people age 12 or older who misused opioids in the past year. The vast majority of people misused prescription pain relievers (2019 NSDUH)
  • An estimated 1.6 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • Opioid use, specifically injection drug use, is a risk factor for contracting HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The CDC reports that people who inject drugs accounted for 9 percent of HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2016
  • 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



  • 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)
  • 2019 NSDUH data indicates that 48.2 million Americans aged 12 or older, 17.5 percent of the population, used marijuana in the past year
  • Approximately 4.8 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year (2019 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: 04/27/2022

Victim Syndrome, what is it?

People suffering from the “victim syndrome” believe that external causes or the actions of other people are to blame for their failures, illnesses, crises, or family and professional circumstances. Often the victim provokes violence against himself by his behavior: ridicule, aggression, depreciation.

A self-destructive pattern of behavior - the "victim mentality" - usually develops in childhood or adolescence. It is during this period of the formation of personality and socialization that the “foundation” of the victim syndrome is laid. Varieties of such a disorder are due to the characteristics of a person's personal characteristics, the degree of development of self-awareness, and accumulated cognitive skills. All these factors influence the behavior of a person and his individual subconscious-intuitive perception of the causes of the actions of other people and the degree of their influence on their own lives.

It is difficult for every person to remain impartial, especially in moments of emotional stress. Therefore, the ideas of a person with the syndrome of the victim are often distorted by deeply hidden selfish motives and are reinforced by negative experiences. Elements of behavior that may be inherent in a person with the “victim syndrome” are often found in everyday communication. This, for example, can be observed in the workforce: one of the employees considers promotions or bonuses as recognition of his competence, while the lack of career growth is explained by the biased attitude of management.

What triggers the development of the victim syndrome?

Increased risk factors in the formation of the “victim syndrome” are incorrect methods of education, too strict parental control or, conversely, the desire of parents to protect the child from independent decision-making and responsibility for their actions, lack of maternal and paternal attention, trusting relationships and security guarantees in childhood.

People who exhibit "victim syndrome" at a behavioral or evaluative level thus try to protect their own self-esteem and avoid feeling vulnerable. They explain the results of their activities that do not meet expectations with external factors that cannot be controlled. This manifests an unconscious need to avoid responsibility for one's own life and evade duties.

From the point of view of modern psychology, the victim mentality develops due to the immaturity of the individual, inadequate analysis of cause and effect relationships. These factors together cause distorted emotional reactions and significantly lower self-esteem against the backdrop of a pronounced need to feel good about oneself.

Not only emotionally unstable people can suffer from the “victim syndrome”, but also those who are prone to negative emotions. Such “victims”, against the background of a constant feeling of insecurity, develop general neuroticism and various mental symptoms.

One of the not obvious selfish motives of the “victim” is the ability to manipulate loved ones as a kind of moral reward for the suffering experienced. The clearest illustration of this form of interaction is the behavior of overprotective mothers who reproach their children for not being grateful enough.

The characteristic features of the "victim symptom" include:0026

  • accusing other people of one's own mistakes and mistakes,
  • concentration on negative events,
  • tendency to suspect others of non-existent negative intentions,
  • heightened egocentricity, inability to consider the situation "from the outside",
  • painful conviction that others people are more successful,
  • obsessive need to complain to anyone who is willing to listen,
  • unsatisfied thirst for recognition,
  • desire to evoke sympathy, pleasure in self-pity,
  • feeling of satisfaction from stories of failures or shortcomings of others,
  • refusal to take responsibility for one's own life, unwillingness to act, up to attempts to avoid making decisions and expressing personal opinions,
  • forecasting risks of possible negative consequences,
  • fear of refusing someone's requests, so as not to "fall in the eyes of others",
  • rejection of the offered help,
  • low self-esteem with a simultaneous request for recognition, respect and love.
  • Why the “victim syndrome” is dangerous

    Obvious negative psychological and behavioral consequences of the victim syndrome significantly worsen life: a person does not develop relationships in the family, professional realization suffers, health deteriorates. The "victim" feels unrecognized, vulnerable and flawed, while experiencing an increased need for recognition. The “victim” narrows the circle of acquaintances over time, relations with relatives, relatives, colleagues and management do not go well. In addition, against the background of constant negative emotions, the mentality changes, negative experience is consolidated, which is fraught with the appearance of depression, increased anxiety, phobias, panic attacks and other mental disorders, which sometimes requires the help of a qualified psychiatrist and psychotherapist.

    As a rule, such a person (“victim”) is not able to assess the situation objectively. Therefore, he refuses to visit a doctor, "writing off" all the symptoms to unfavorable external circumstances, thereby worsening his condition. The peculiarities of “victim” thinking, as well as somatic symptoms accompanying mental manifestations, often complicate the correct diagnosis. That is why in the case of a negative change in the physical condition of a person with a “victim syndrome”, it is not enough to contact a general practitioner. Only an experienced psychiatrist can recognize signs of the development of a mental illness in the totality of symptoms, prescribe adequate treatment, psychotherapy and help, as well as prevent negative consequences.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat victim syndrome.

    Modern pharmacology has a wide range of effective drugs with minimal side effects, and qualified psychiatrists, psychotherapists and psychologists will be able to understand the causes of the disease and bring you joy and bright colors in your life palette!

      We constantly detect plagiarism in our materials without a clickable follow link to them. In this case, without warning, we turn to  DMCA Google  , which leads to pessimization of the plagiarist. On the contrary, we welcome the promotion of our materials, but with a mandatory active follow link to this page  .  

    Burnout syndrome

    Burnout syndrome is a state of emotional, mental exhaustion, physical fatigue resulting from chronic stress at work. May be characterized by impaired productivity at work, fatigue, insomnia, increased susceptibility to somatic diseases, alcohol or other psychoactive substance use, and suicidal behavior.

    The development of this syndrome is typical, first of all, for professions where the provision of assistance to people dominates (medical workers, teachers, psychologists, social workers, rescuers, law enforcement officers, firefighters). Work with “heavy” clients (gerontological, oncological patients, aggressive, suicidal patients, patients with addictions) also predisposes to burnout.

    EBS is seen as the result of an unfavorable resolution of stress in the workplace.

    Signs of burnout:

    • Behavioral change: boredom, resistance to going to work, tardiness, substance use, accident susceptibility, reduced creativity.
    • Change in feelings: depression, gallows humor, feelings of failure, guilt, bitterness, irritability, nit-picking.
    • Changes in thinking: decreased concentration, rigidity, suspicion, incredulity, victim mentality, callousness.
    • Changes in health: sleep disturbance, fatigue, decreased immunity.


    Evaluation of the syndrome of emotional burnout.

    Phases of development of the CMEA (according to Selye).

    • I Voltage phase.
      It is a harbinger and a “triggering” mechanism in the formation of emotional burnout. The development of CMEA is preceded by a period of increased activity, when a person is completely absorbed in work, refuses needs that are not related to it, forgets about his own needs. If these efforts of an employee are adequately assessed and supported, if a person receives a sense of the importance and significance of his work, the CMEA does not develop. If not, and there is a collapse of ideas, then the CMEA gets its development.
    • II Phase resistance.
      A person strives for psychological comfort and therefore tries to reduce the pressure of external circumstances.
    • III Phase of exhaustion.
      Characterized by a drop in overall energy tone and weakening of the nervous system. "Burnout" becomes an integral attribute of personality.

    Metastases of "burnout" penetrate into the value system of the individual. There is an anti-humanistic attitude. The personality claims that working with people is not interesting, does not give satisfaction, does not represent social value.

    Prevention and treatment of burnout syndrome.

    What protects against the development of EBS can also be used in the treatment of an already developed syndrome.

    Two aspects can be distinguished here: individual protection and organizational approach.

    Consider the qualities that help a specialist avoid professional burnout.

    Firstly, these are the following individual personality traits of a person:

    • Conscious, purposeful care of one's physical condition (for example, playing sports and maintaining a healthy lifestyle).
    • High self-esteem and confidence in oneself, one's abilities and capabilities (working with unstable self-esteem, reading psychological literature or contacting a psychotherapist who will point out directions in this matter).
    • High professional self-esteem (the need to constantly improve one's professional level).

    Secondly, burnout is avoided by people who have experience of successfully overcoming professional stress; capable of constructive change under stressful conditions.

    Thirdly, an important distinguishing feature of people who are not subject to CMEA is the ability to form and maintain positive, optimistic attitudes and values ​​in themselves, both in relation to themselves and other people and life in general. At the end of a brief review of personal protective equipment, I would like to say that "Calllessness to yourself is also a mutilation."

    Be attentive to yourself. At the first manifestations of SEB, take action: take a break, meet friends, change the environment, discover your creative abilities. If improvised means do not help, seek help. This can be attending trainings (from personal growth training to creativity training), individual or group work with a psychotherapist. Remember, the CMEA will not go away on its own, you must take steps to protect yourself. If you feel that you cannot cope with the problem yourself, do not delay the trip to a specialist.

    By leaving your personal data, you give your voluntary consent to the processing of your personal data. Personal data refers to any information relating to you as a subject of personal data (name, date of birth, city of residence, address, contact phone number, email address, occupation, etc.

    Learn more