Feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness

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

    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

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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

What is a feeling of despair in a person, an explanation of the state of despair

According to studies, despair begins to be felt especially often and sharply when people enter the period of early adulthood - 30-40 years. This harmful feeling causes problems with mental and somatic health.

The state of despair can be seen as a symptom of mental disorders, or it can be a situational emotion that occurs in response to negative life events. An oppressive sense of hopelessness is found in diseases such as depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, various types of addictions, and more. Despair is not always associated with a psychiatric diagnosis, but, regardless of the cause, this feeling has a devastating effect on life and health. Negative emotions threaten not only the well-being and mental stability of a person. They can also rob you of the motivation you need to complete daily tasks, connect with people, or even seek help. nine0003

People often experience feelings of despair after tragic events. This is usually the main emotion that arises in response to a sudden traumatic event. In this case, this is a normal and understandable reaction, but it can lead to rash decisions in critical situations, or it can drag on and poison life for a long time. Fortunately, it is in our power to dispel this pernicious feeling. We can learn to cope with any loss, move on, change and continue our lives if we do not ignore the problematic situation and turn for help. nine0003

What is despair

Everyone experiences despair at difficult times in their lives. We may despair from time to time about our work, marriage, sex life, finances, world events, and more. But usually this despair dissipates over time, and life goes on. At least until the next crisis.

But sometimes despair does not go away, but, on the contrary, deepens and begins to significantly affect behavior, flowing into a chronic problem. When this feeling reduces the quality of life, prevents you from moving towards goals, dreams and desires, then it becomes pathological or clinical despair. nine0003

Despair is characterized by a lack of hope, optimism, and passion for life. This feeling can be described as a mixture of mental anguish, despondency and disappointment, which lead to the loss of the meaning of one's existence. Therefore, in despair, the explanation that life goes on and all problems can be solved may not have the desired effect if there was no preliminary psychotherapeutic preparation.

Despair is a strong emotion that negatively affects how a person perceives himself, other people, personal circumstances and the world in general. Often, hopelessness guides a person's behavior, because of it there is a negative attitude towards the future and the loss of any motivation. To despair means to stop appreciating even those things and events that were once very important. Emotions are often associated with a lack of inspiration, as well as feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, abandonment, oppression, and social isolation. nine0003

People who know what despair is can say the following about themselves:

  • My situation will never get better
  • I have no future
  • Nobody and nothing can help me
  • I feel like I've given up
  • It's too late to change anything
  • I have no hope for a bright future
  • I will never be happy again

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to contact a specialist immediately after a traumatic event. But if a person feels that time is running out, and the feeling of despair does not go away, then it is necessary to seek professional help. The therapist will not only help you find the cause of despair and eliminate the feeling of hopelessness, but also teach you how to cope with life's difficulties and think rationally in critical situations. This will help to avoid rash actions that will negatively affect life for many years to come. There is no need to visit a psychotherapist whenever there is a feeling of hopelessness. A competent specialist will teach you how to be persistent and independently cope with these situations in the future. Therapy will make it clear that no matter how hopeless things seem now, there is always hope and meaning to move on. nine0003

Suppressed motivation, lack of interest, negative thoughts about the future, and low self-esteem are all common issues that accompany feelings of desperation and that must be dealt with in the therapist's office.

One of the effective psychotherapeutic approaches that are used for this problem is cognitive therapy. It is aimed at working out the negative thoughts and attitudes of the patient. Because the cognitive approach requires people undergoing treatment to carefully consider the validity of their assumptions, a person who is discouraged may initially be resistant to this approach. However, an experienced specialist removes these psychological barriers, helping the patient to look at life from a different angle. nine0003

Numerous studies show that psychotherapy often helps people who have fallen into despair find hope and achieve lasting mental health.

If necessary, drug therapy can be carried out, which includes modern antidepressants, mild sleeping pills and other drugs, the choice of which depends on the situation.

What despair means for children

Despair and depression can occur at any age: not only in adulthood or old age, but also in adolescence or even early childhood. The psyche of children is extremely unstable and vulnerable. As such, children and teens are usually more susceptible to trauma than adults, but with the right support and reassurance, they can also recover faster. nine0003

The strong, confusing, and frightening emotions that follow traumatic events undermine a child's sense of security, causing them to feel helpless and vulnerable.

Trauma and despair - what does it mean for children and how to recognize them? Manifestations depend on the situation and the age of the child. Among them:

  • Unfounded fears
  • Frequent crying and screaming
  • A large number of aimless movements or, conversely, reduced motor activity
  • Return to behaviors that are characteristic of an earlier age, such as thumb sucking or bedwetting
  • Loss of interest in friends, family and former hobbies
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Poor school performance
  • Complaints of physical ailment
  • Feelings of depression, apathy or guilt

Ignoring the problem can lead to irreversible consequences: the child will stop living a full life, may start studying, lose friends and interest in life for many years. Deep despair often degenerates into acts of violence: either against oneself or against others. In the worst cases, mental illness develops, various types of addictions and even suicidal behavior occur. nine0003

If a child has fallen into despair so much that this feeling for a long time prevents him from functioning at school or at home, this means that it is no longer possible to postpone the appeal to a psychotherapist.

Signs to watch out for parents:

  • Despair persists for 6 weeks or more
  • Academic and performance problems
  • The child often complains of headaches, nausea, abdominal pain or sleep disturbance
  • Child finds it increasingly difficult to communicate with friends and family
  • Child or adolescent expresses suicidal thoughts
  • The child became withdrawn, anxious
  • Outbursts of rage and aggression that never happened before
  • Bad mood, sadness, tearfulness

The more parents know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for their child's depression, the faster their recovery will be. It must be remembered that a child of any age needs not only love, but also respect and trust with at least one of the adult family members. Sometimes the participation of a professional is necessary to normalize intra-family relations. Any major change takes time. But with the support of parents and the help of a competent specialist, anxious thoughts and despair will begin to fade away, and the child's life will return to normal in a few weeks. nine0003

Mood swings: reasons, how to fight

The pandemic seemed like the best time for us to launch a rubric, the idea of ​​which we had been nurturing for a long time. In "Question to a Psychologist" we will ask questions that concern many experts, and they, in turn, will share their knowledge that can help you - and simply increase your mental health literacy.

This time we decided to talk about the problem of mood swings that each of us faced during quarantine. How not to become a hostage of your own emotions, how to sound the alarm, suspecting you have a bipolar disorder, and what can be done to “return to the shores” and balance the internal state shattered by self-isolation and depressive news reports? Practicing psychologist, transactional analyst and family systems psychotherapist Anastasia Polyakova answers. nine0003

Julia Samoshkina





What happens when we sit on an emotional swing?

1) First of all, let's agree that emotions are normal . And the fact that they are very diverse both in intensity and color is also the norm. We will not get away from them: emotions were, are and will always be with us. This is a natural part of life. Another question is how we will deal with it. If anger has attacked you, you don’t need to immediately run to a psychiatrist with the question “What is wrong with me?”. nine0003

2) Each of us always has a complete emotional kit with us. Our brain and psyche are arranged in such a way that all of us, without exception, can experience anger, sadness, joy, excitement associated with future plans - in a word, a full emotional spectrum. It’s just that some emotions are our “favorites”, and some we strongly suppress. And when these suppressed emotions wake up, then we begin to literally tear to pieces. For example, your parents told you as a child that “it’s not good to be angry, you are a well-mannered boy,” and in this case, instead of anger, you now fall into despondency every time. If in quarantine you suddenly discovered with amazement that you are capable of anger, find a peculiar benefit in this - after all, you have discovered something completely new in yourself. At first, it may even frighten you: in this case, the secondary emotion of fear is mixed in. Do not worry and do not let yourself get confused: as we remember from the first point, it is completely normal to experience completely different emotions. nine0003

3) We subconsciously strive to be consistent . But our world is not black and white, and neither is our attitude towards it. Each event has several facets.

This is most evident in personal relationships. I can be angry with my partner, but at the same time be glad that he is next to me. Come closer to me, move away. You can read more about this in the book by Gerold Kreisman “I hate you, just don’t leave me. Borderline Personalities and How to Understand Them. In life, ambiguous events often occur. And the reaction to them is logically also very ambiguous. This is a fairly common story, which, nevertheless, can become a source of misunderstanding not only from your loved ones, but also for yourself. Indeed, in such cases, we most often cannot fully realize what is happening to us. For example, yesterday I was upset that my partner did not support my ideas. And today it infuriates me unbearably that he climbs with his smart recommendations. And it’s not clear what to do: ask for advice or deal with it yourself? nine0003

First, let's understand that it's okay to be sad about something first and then get angry. First, be glad that you don’t have to go to work, and then miss it locked up. Yes, this ambiguity can confuse our thoughts. But you can work with this.

Take any item, such as a laptop. You may like something about it, but something will annoy. For example, you like its color, the fact that it is cold when you touch it, but you will be annoyed by the fingerprint on the screen. I can be glad that I bought this laptop, but I can be upset that when I went to the store, my partner was not with me and I was alone. That is, I can look at this subject from different angles. And accordingly, at the same time, I will experience different emotions. nine0003

First of all, ask yourself: “What exactly makes me angry? What exactly is frustrating?" Find a more precise reason for your emotions. For example, instead of the generic and vague phrase “I am depressed because of the coronavirus,” choose a more narrow and specific wording such as “I am sad because my usual rhythm of life has been forced to change” or “I am upset because I I can be as free to move as before. ” Or “What am I mad at? Because household members violate my boundaries. Or “I lose my temper when I’m working and I want to concentrate, and at this time a child runs into the room.” nine0003

This way it will become clearer what exactly irritates you, what upsets you, and what brings positive emotions. In fact, this way you will better understand what and how affects your condition. If we isolate this specificity and understand that many different aspects can be concentrated around one event, internal integrity will appear - and, as a result, a more integral attitude to the situation, phenomenon and manifestation of emotions.

4) It is important to know about the existence of such concepts as "lability" and "rigidity" . All people are different. Each of us has different settings that determine how this or that emotional process will proceed. For a clearer understanding, you can conditionally imagine a certain scale. At one end there will be a point of the easiest switching from one emotion to another, at the other - a complete lack of this flexibility. We are all on this scale in one way or another. Labile people switch between emotions more easily. Rigid people have a hard time with this. People with a labile psyche can be compared to sparklers - they quickly flare up, sparkle, but also quickly fade. A person with a rigid psyche is like a candle that burns with an even flame until all the wax is melted. It is important to determine what type you are. People who are prone to sudden emotional swings are like sparklers - they are labile. Those with a rigid psyche demonstrate greater constancy. For example, if they are upset in the morning, then they will walk around in a depressed state all day. nine0003

5) Emotions are closely related to stress and in most cases serve as a response to a stressful situation. "I got stepped on my foot - I got angry."

We have four basic reactions to stress that work without our awareness:

  • bey;
  • run;
  • freeze;
  • play dead.

The first two strategies can be classified as conditionally active. The second two are passive.

"Bey" can manifest itself as "Go through business training and save the economy with your achievements." This reaction is most often manifested through anger. nine0003

"Run" is realized through fear and makes us move and move away from danger.

The following two reactions can be compared to freezing. "Freeze" means "Lie on the couch and stick to the ceiling."

“Play dead” is a more radical version: “If I am already dead, what is the demand from me? I don't have to fight or deal with anything." In essence, the play-dead strategy is a depressive state.

Each of us has preferred strategies, but they can change. nine0003

6) Under the influence of any stress (whether it's a pandemic or a small everyday situation when you forgot your keys at home) all emotional reactions are intensified . This is due to the fact that the function of any emotion is to solve problem situations.

— Sadness and sadness are needed in order to live through losses, which have become in abundance in the current realities.

— Anger is evolutionarily needed to protect one's boundaries. None of us have ever spent so much time at home side by side with loved ones. At the same time, each of us has a need for personal space, our own rituals. During self-isolation, the problem of personal territory is especially acute, as anger signals. nine0003

- Fear protected our ancestors from danger - and now we need it in order not to risk our health by arranging barbecue in a noisy company.

— Joy is needed for rapprochement and more productive coexistence. It is obvious that it is difficult for one now. We need to come together to get through difficult times. Robinson Crusoe first talked to a cabbage fork before he met Friday. If there is no person nearby, we start to invent him.

Considering that the stress level is going through the roof right now, it is logical that our emotions are many times stronger. However, if you think of emotions as something that has its own function and clear purpose, then it will be much easier to cope with them. For example, “What does this fear want to warn me about? Perhaps about me buying myself more protective masks and once again not leaving the house without a reason. nine0003

7) We used to call strong emotions "bipolar" - we are talking about bipolar affective disorder. However, do not rush to make such a serious diagnosis for yourself : this disease has very specific symptoms and criteria.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by alternating affective states (depression and mania). The dangerous thing is that a person ceases to control behavior and loses criticism of what is happening.

During mania, people spend money, take out loans, give away property, make grandiose plans, and never go through with anything.

In depression, all motivation is lost, a person can lie in bed for weeks, he is not able to go to work and take care of loved ones.

Symptoms of mania:

  1. Hyperactivity.
  2. Excessive talkativeness.
  3. Many different confused thoughts.
  4. Irritability.
  5. Little need for sleep. nine0022
  6. Increased self-esteem.
  7. Risk behavior: overspending, drinking, drug use, impulsive decisions and actions, risky and exalted sexual behavior.

Symptoms of depression:

  1. Sadness.
  2. Uncontrollable attacks of fear.
  3. Feeling worthless and hopeless.
  4. Excessive feeling of guilt.
  5. Fatigue.
  6. Alarm.
  7. Sleep disturbance.
  8. Fencing off from relatives and friends.
  9. Changes in eating habits (increase or decrease in appetite).

Check these lists first, and if you find confirmation of your suspicions, seek authoritative help from a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Typically, bipolar disorder is treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

What to do with emotional swings? How to help yourself?

1) It is important to describe in words what is happening to you and give your condition a name. nine0124 Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand what emotion we are experiencing. To do this, you can resort to this technique. Search Google for pictures of faces that depict a variety of emotions and have a clear description of which emotion is illustrated. Go to the mirror and match your face with this or that image. This will help you realize what kind of emotion is imprinted on your face at this particular moment in time.

2) Determine the emotion function. Why did she come? What is this anger trying to tell me? What is this sadness about? How can I build relationships using joy? nine0003

3) Think about how to respond to emotions in order to smooth them out. This item will not only be useful as self-help, but will also be useful to those who are close to a hyper-emotional person.

  • If you witness anger, show it to be serious. This will help reduce its intensity.
  • If you are faced with fear, you need to provide physical and psychological protection and safety. "Are you afraid to go outside? Let's create all the necessary conditions for a full and comfortable life at home." nine0022
  • Sadness — it is important to share it with someone and not be alone with this negative emotion. In order to be “effectively” sad, it is important for us to speak out the reason for sadness - and to do this in a certain sense selfishly, without thinking about the feelings of others. It is important that someone share the pain, experiences with us and mourn with us. Not only have Zoom parties with your friends, but also discuss together what we all have lost due to the outbreak of the pandemic. Consistency is especially important here so as not to get stuck in sadness. nine0022
  • Joy - to respond vitally, that is, to be alive and involved. When a joyful child brings a drawing to his mother, it is necessary that she respond with a lively smile and say “Wow!”. The formal "Well done, go draw some more" is not suitable. React as vividly as possible to the joy of the other person. The energy of joy, the ability to experience it constructively, feeling included, is the right scenario. The same applies to yourself. When we think that it is worse for someone now than me, and in general it is a sin to rejoice, we extinguish the positive in ourselves. Such a strategy is not very useful for a harmonious sense of self. nine0022

4) Learn to smooth out the amplitude of emotional reactions.

Learn more