Help for loneliness and 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

    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. 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

How to overcome depression and loneliness? Treatment of depression in the Allianz Central Medical Health Center

In the modern world, the cult of physical and psychological perfection prevails. The basis is strength, vigor, material well-being and success. In an effort to meet the expectations of society, people are forced to hide experiences and problems. This leads to a sense of inadequacy, deprivation of the necessary support and limited communication.

Loneliness is a reason to figure out what doesn’t suit you in the people around you, but those around you don’t like you. Instead of falling into depression, it is better to contact a psychologist or psychotherapist and solve the problem.

Loneliness in psychology is considered a factor that has a destructive effect on a person's emotional state. Often this forced state becomes the cause of depression.

Depression is a mood disorder according to ICD-10. It is considered a disease if the following symptoms are present for two or more weeks:

  • depressed mood;
  • loss of interest in favorite work, hobbies;
  • pessimistic ideas about the future;
  • lack of desire to communicate, refusal of social interaction;
  • destructive thoughts about personal achievement and appearance;
  • sleep and appetite disorders.

It is possible to get rid of depression due to the lack of a personal life, but for this it is recommended to seek the advice of a psychotherapist. The longer a person is alone with negative thoughts and feelings, the more severe the symptoms of the disorder will be.

How to define the line between a problem and an illness?

When depression occurs from loneliness, what to do is a common question that a specialist is asked during an initial consultation. A conversation with a psychotherapist is the first and so far the only way to understand a person's problems.


The fundamental difference between a psychologist and a psychotherapist: only a psychotherapist can prescribe medication. If you have severe symptoms of depression, see your doctor.

If a person wants to understand why it is not possible to build friendships or love relationships, a psychologist or psychotherapist will help him. It is impossible to see yourself from the outside and evaluate your behavior, while a specialist will definitely be able to assess your life goals and suggest how they can be optimized. You feel your “own” specialist already from the first session, but in order to fully understand the problem, you need to complete the full course.

If symptoms of depression (the cause of depressed mood is not important here) prevent a person from living and working - nothing gives pleasure, it is difficult to concentrate and remember, sleep problems (insomnia, daytime sleepiness) torment, it is better to consult a doctor. A therapist will be able to prescribe mild antidepressants that will relieve symptoms. And then it will be much easier for a person to solve the main problem.

How to overcome depression and loneliness?

What helps with depression and loneliness? Visible and quick help is provided by individual cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.

This allows the patient to see a real positive result in a short time, since the work will be directed specifically to the problem of loneliness. The essence of therapy is to replace negative beliefs with positive ones, therefore, a person’s behavior also changes.

The inclusion of group therapy helps to shift the focus from the client's personal experiences to the external environment. Communication and participation in the lives of other people is an effective way to get rid of the feeling of loneliness. In such sessions, patients are given the opportunity to talk about their feelings and experiences to other people.

At group therapy sessions, what is so lacking for a person in modern society is available - the opportunity to share the most intimate and support, without judgment and prejudice.

Such an act necessarily has a positive reinforcement in the form of support, encouragement and acceptance by other members of the group. Thus, the fear of being ridiculed, misunderstood, or receiving condemnation from society is worked out.

If during the passage of psychotherapy the intensity of symptoms persists, then, in agreement with the patient, medical support is added. Treatment with a psychotherapist allows you not only to learn how to overcome depression and loneliness, but also teaches you practical techniques for controlling your emotional state. With the help of a qualified specialist, you will successfully overcome the disease and enjoy communication again.

Depression from loneliness: how to cope and not fall into depression

Communication for a modern person is a prerequisite for his optimal functioning. However, the fast pace of life, busy work schedule and many responsibilities make people want to be alone with their thoughts and feelings. Depressive personality disorder is associated with loneliness, which can be both a cause of illness and its consequence. Severe mental disorders requiring professional treatment can be the result of fear of close relationships and betrayal, a person's isolation and inability to communicate.

Causes of depressive loneliness

Some modern people make a conscious decision and lead an isolated lifestyle. They explain this circumstance by the fact that communication with others requires temporary and emotional resources. People with this attitude believe that serving the family or doing things together takes up a lot of time that they could spend on self-development or recreation. Psychologists note that people who make this conscious choice do not suffer from loneliness.

Depressive loneliness is seen in the modern world as a painful and painful condition. In this case, people feel the need for recognition or protection, they yearn for warm and trusting relationships. Loneliness can occur even in those people who are surrounded by family.

The main reasons for the emergence of feelings of loneliness in the modern world are:

  • Individual personality traits.

People with traits such as self-doubt, pessimism, autism, introversion often do not have many friends and prefer to be alone. A common reason such clients turn to psychologists is the fear of communication.

  • Psychological trauma.

Divorce, unhealthy relationships, death of loved ones, moving to a new place of residence, loss of a job can act as an obstacle to establishing social contacts.

  • Objective factors requiring social isolation.

Physical disability, the need to regularly care for loved ones, disability can cause physical isolation.

  • Life in a big city.

People who live in megacities often note a lack of communication that is not related to their work activities. Working in a busy schedule, people can not allocate enough time to maintain existing contacts and establish new connections. In such conditions, emotional exhaustion can also occur, causing social isolation.

  • Desire for material superiority.

Intensive professional activity brings a decent income, in the pursuit of which people forget about meeting the need for communication. In such situations, after achieving the goal, people do not feel satisfied, as they cannot receive recognition and the necessary attention.

Loneliness caused by the loss of a loved one is considered as a separate cause of depressive syndrome. The main position in the formation of this violation is the feeling of loss, in addition, a person is faced with many negative feelings and experiences, the need to change the usual way of life.

Effective methods of getting out of depression

The difficulty of getting rid of depression that occurs against the background of loneliness lies in the fact that people of different sexes have certain social expectations. Social standards suggest that a man should be strong and successful, it is unacceptable for him to show sadness and weakness. In this case, depression is formed due to the fact that a man cannot express emotions and uses alcohol to relieve psycho-emotional stress.

In women, the depressive syndrome is associated with the impossibility of their realization as spouses and mothers. Depression from loneliness can be exacerbated by the fact that a woman enters into an unhappy marriage or is pressured by loved ones because of not meeting their expectations.

Many depressed patients mistakenly believe that in order to overcome their problem they need to arm themselves with charm and good looks, and then go to an entertainment establishment for company. Such a strategy is destructive to the individual and does not effectively get rid of depression. The increase in the number of acquaintances and casual connections can increase the feeling of loneliness. The search for new acquaintances and attempts to communicate gradually deplete the resources of a depressed person.

Experts recommend starting the fight against depression and loneliness by looking for existing resources and connections. Satisfaction is possible when communication is restored with relatives or old friends. In addition, the patient can discover in himself resources that make his personality unique.

Reassessment of professional activity also helps to get out of depression in cases where it is not possible to restore social ties. For this, some patients turn to specialists to remove psychological clamps and blocks that affect self-esteem. An effective way is also favorite activities or hobbies that not only distract from negative thoughts, but also become a means of personal development.

If you have severe symptoms of depression associated with loneliness, you may need the help of a psychiatrist. This specialist works with patients who have cognitive and motor impairments, suicidal thoughts.

Some patients are afraid of publicity and do not go to medical institutions for help, because they believe that they will be put on a psychiatric register. This measure is used in exceptional cases when the patient poses a danger to others and himself. Medicamentous treatment can also be carried out by a private psychotherapist, who does not record patients. This direction of treatment is often based on taking antidepressants, which improve the psycho-emotional state in a few weeks.

Sequelae of depressive disorder from loneliness

Patients with depression often try to get through the difficult period and cope with the problem on their own. However, in cases where loneliness becomes an obsession, patients do not notice a gradual restriction of social activity.

A common consequence of depression on the background of loneliness is the formation of dependence on alcohol or psychoactive substances. In such a situation, people do not participate in social life, stop looking after themselves and are not aware of the problems.

The danger of depressive disorder caused by loneliness is a high risk of suicide. Patients with moderate to severe forms of the disorder may show suicidal tendencies. It is easier for a lonely person to realize his plans, which he may not even hide from others. Auto-aggressive behavior is dangerous for the patient, therefore, in such cases, hospitalization is carried out.

Prevention of depression from loneliness

How to cope with loneliness and depression is known to specialists in various fields, these conditions can be corrected. Psychotherapists and psychologists recommend that people with a lack of communication to prevent depression set a long-term goal that will require the participation of other people and a large physical investment.

Learn more