How to become numb

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
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    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
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    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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The Locator is authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-255, Section 9006; 42 U.S.C. 290bb-36d). SAMHSA endeavors to keep the Locator current. All information in the Locator is updated annually from facility responses to SAMHSA’s National Substance Use and Mental Health Services Survey (N-SUMHSS). New facilities that have completed an abbreviated survey and met all the qualifications are added monthly. Updates to facility names, addresses, telephone numbers, and services are made weekly for facilities informing SAMHSA of changes. Facilities may request additions or changes to their information by sending an e-mail to [email protected], by calling the BHSIS Project Office at 1-833-888-1553 (Mon-Fri 8-6 ET), or by electronic form submission using the Locator online application form (intended for additions of new facilities).

Numbness of the legs and arms - treatment, symptoms, causes, diagnosis

Numbness is an abnormal sensation that can occur in any part of the body, but is most often felt in the arms and legs. The symptom of numbness is often accompanied by tingling, and can range from fairly harmless, such as in the hands on cooling, to a sign of a serious, life-threatening condition. Numbness is a fairly common symptom. Numbness of the extremities is often accompanied by an emotional context with a sense of detachment and a decrease in emotional coloring, which is usually a sign of depression. In a physical context, numbness is usually the result of damage, circulatory problems, or pathological changes to certain nerves.

In addition, there may be periodic bouts of numbness and tingling due to the presence of certain health problems, such as neurosis or a migraine attack. Also, episodes of numbness can occur during attacks of fear caused by the expectation of life-threatening events, and in such cases, numbness is caused by shallow breathing and affects, most often, the fingers and mouth area.

Numbness of the hands is manifested by a feeling of loss of sensation in the hands, this condition is often referred to by patients as "asleep" hands. Numbness may be accompanied by a pins and needles sensation. Often this numbness occurs after sleeping with your hands under your head. Numbness of the hands is usually caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, in which the median nerve is compressed. Most often, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel. In addition, hand numbness may be due to trauma, hypothermia, or systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus. If hand numbness is accompanied by shortness of breath, nausea, palpitations, then this may be a sign of acute, life-threatening conditions and requires emergency medical attention.

Numbness in the legs is a loss of feeling or sensation in the legs, resulting from a breakdown in the connection between the peripheral nerves and the central nervous system. Usually, leg numbness is associated with impaired circulation in the lower extremities. Most often, this numbness occurs when sitting cross-legged for a long period of time. In such cases, lifting and walking can get rid of numbness after a certain period of time. But numbness in the legs can also be a sign of serious damage to nerve fibers due to mechanical factors (disc herniation, radiculopathy) or nerve damage due to somatic diseases.


Numbness can be a sign of a wide range of diseases or conditions in which there is blood flow restriction or nerve damage.

Temporary numbness may be associated with any activity that causes prolonged pressure on the nerve(s), such as sitting cross-legged or riding a bicycle for long distances. Numbness can also occur due to moderate or severe orthopedic or vascular conditions, or conditions and diseases that cause damage to the nervous system. In some cases, numbness is a symptom of a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical attention.

Cardiovascular causes of numbness

Numbness can be caused by an interruption (absence) of blood flow to a certain area due to conditions such as:

  • Arteriovenous malformations
  • Buerger's disease
  • Deep vein thrombosis (thrombosis in the legs can break off, which can lead to pulmonary embolism in the lungs, heart attack, stroke)
  • Frostbite
  • Diseases of the peripheral arteries (atherosclerosis of the vessels, in which there is a narrowing of the arterial bed).
  • Raynaud's syndrome, in which persistent spasm of peripheral vessels occurs and blood circulation is disturbed in the distal extremities. Vasospasm is usually provoked by cold or sometimes stress.

Orthopedic causes of numbness

Numbness can also be caused by minor or major orthopedic conditions that cause nerve damage:

  • Whiplash in the neck
  • Bone fractures
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Degenerative diseases of the intervertebral disc
  • Herniated disc
  • Compression pinched nerve
  • Osteoporosis

Neurological causes of numbness

Numbness due to nerve compression or nerve damage may be due to diseases such as:

  • Alcoholism
  • Brain tumors
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Encephalitis
  • Heavy metal poisoning such as lead poisoning
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Spinal cord injury or tumors
  • Stroke
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Myelitis
  • Myelopathy
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

Numbness during pregnancy

Pregnant women face many changes in their bodies, and numbness is one of them. Some pregnant women develop carpal tunnel syndrome and this is thought to be due to water retention in the body during pregnancy.

As the fetus develops, fluid accumulates in the body, tissues swell, including in the wrist area, compression of the median nerve occurs and carpal tunnel syndrome develops. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are more pronounced in the morning, as there is an accumulation of fluid in the body at night. As a rule, the syndrome of the carpal tunnel of pregnancy is cured on its own after delivery.

Numbness in children

There are many reasons why children may experience numbness in various parts of the body. Malnutrition, lack of vitamins and minerals can cause numbness in the lower extremities, this is especially true for a lack of B vitamins. Sports injuries can also cause numbness. Therefore, in childhood, parents need to pay attention to children's complaints of numbness, which lasts more than a few minutes and may be a sign of damage to ligaments, tendons or bone fractures. Often, anxiety in childhood can be a source of numbness of the lips and face.


Numbness is usually due to poor circulation in a certain area or nerve damage. Sensory disturbances (numbness) can also be the result of infection, inflammation, trauma, and other pathological processes. In most cases, numbness is associated with non-life-threatening conditions, but it can also be a sign of a stroke or tumor.

Numbness in the extremities is often associated with pain or may be accompanied by other sensory disturbances such as burning, tingling. Strokes also present with movement and speech disorders. Depending on the cause, numbness may disappear quickly, for example numbness in the hand that occurs when a person is sleeping with his head on his hand, disappears after a few hand movements. Chronic numbness of the leg or arm over a long period of time, usually indicating some level of nerve damage, such as from diabetes mellitus or multiple sclerosis. Chronic numbness of the fingers may be due to nerve entrapment, as is the case with carpal tunnel syndrome. In any case, numbness that lasts for more than a few minutes is worthy of attention and medical attention. And if a person has numbness in the groin area and dysfunction of the bladder and intestines, or there are signs of paralysis, confusion, speech impairment, then in such cases it is necessary to seek emergency medical help.

Symptoms that may accompany numbness:

  • Anxiety
  • Burning sensation
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased numbness or tingling while walking
  • Itching
  • Low back pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in other parts of the body
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Rash
  • Hypersensitivity to touch

A number of symptoms that accompany numbness can be a sign of serious conditions and this must be taken into account by the doctor, as emergency medical care and necessary medical procedures are often required.

These symptoms are:

  • Lethargy or momentary loss of consciousness
  • Labored breathing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of control over voluntary urination or defecation
  • Visual impairments
  • Numbness in the head, neck, back
  • Paralysis
  • Speech disorders (dysarthria)
  • Weakness

Diagnosis and treatment

Based on the history of the disease, examination of symptoms and physical examination, the doctor prescribes an examination plan that includes both instrumental and laboratory examinations.

To treat numbness, first of all, it is necessary to find out the cause of this symptom. If numbness is associated with circulatory disorders, diabetes or multiple sclerosis, the underlying disease is treated, both with the help of conservative methods of treatment, and with an operative method (for example, in case of vascular diseases). For orthopedic problems, such as disc herniation, osteochondrosis, treatment can also be both conservative and operative (for example, when it is necessary to decompress the nerve root).

Numbness, loss of sensation - causes, examination and treatment in Astrakhan| Symptoms

Diseases that affect the largest part of the brain (stroke, tumors, multiple sclerosis, degenerative diseases of the brain)
Signs: Loss of sensation on one side of the face and body affected by the disease, and loss of the ability to recognize objects when touched. Usually weakness, loss of coordination, and other symptoms that indicate dysfunction of the nervous system.

Disorders affecting the upper part of the brain stem (stroke, tumors, abscesses)
Signs: Loss of sensation on one side of the face and body affected by the disease. Often double vision.

Disorders affecting the lower part of the brain stem (stroke, tumors, degenerative diseases of the brain)
Signs: Loss of sensation on one side of the face and on the opposite side of the body affected by the disease. Often visual disturbances and difficulty chewing, swallowing and speaking.

Disorders affecting the width of the spinal cord (compression of the spinal cord due to trauma, tumors, ruptured or herniated disc, hematomas or abscesses, acute transverse myelitis)
Signs: Loss of sensation and usually weakness below a certain level of the body. Sensitivity on the face is not lost. Usually urinary retention, loss of bladder and bowel control, and/or decreased sexual response, including erectile dysfunction in men.

Cauda equina syndrome due to pressure (ruptured or herniated disc, spread of a malignant tumor to the spinal cord)
Signs: Numbness, mainly in the thighs, buttocks, bladder, genitals and in the area between them. Usually back pain. Often urinary retention, loss of bladder and bowel control, and/or decreased sexual response, including erectile dysfunction in men.

Polyneuropathies (use of certain drugs, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, metabolic disorders such as uremia, vitamin B12 deficiency, HIV infection, Lyme disease)
Signs: Numbness and unusual sensations in approximately the same areas on both sides of the body, mainly in the feet and hands.

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