I feel hollow

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

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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).

I do not know how to continue to live. I feel like an empty person -

Question from Daria

Hello. Daria, 21. The fact is that I am completely confused in myself, so much so that it comes to tears. Recently, I feel like an empty person, as if something had stopped inside and the exit for emotions was blocked. I understand that nothing arouses my real interest, I don’t feel happiness inside myself, everything seems ordinary and somehow different ... I have practically no hobbies, I can’t normally take up something, because it doesn’t draw me in so much for me to enjoy. I often have a stupor and a feeling of emptiness, I just lie with the phone and cannot start doing something, and this goes on and on. It feels like I’m just lost as a person, and I don’t know how to find myself and return the lightness that was in me .. Previously, at least something aroused emotions in me, now there is nothing left. I have strange desires, which probably look like a rebellion, but I want freedom, something carefree, dye my hair bright, do what I want, just live and be happy. I have a family, but even among them I feel lonely, they do not understand my problems, as I understand them .. And I do not blame them for this. I have low independence and adaptability, it’s hard for me to enter an independent life, my character prevents this from happening ... I have always been taken care of a lot, and now it is very difficult. I am inattentive and I can act because of my indecision not as I would like to do, and then I feel uncomfortable because of this. Therefore, for me to be afraid that I will get stuck somewhere. Because I'm worried, I can listen to what they say to me ... I'm tired of myself, and I don't know how I can continue to live. I also have a fear of hopelessness, that they will deprive me of what is dear to me, and I won’t be able to do anything ... Please help. There is a lot of text and it may not be clear somewhere, because I write on emotions.

The letter was published with preserved spelling and has not been edited.

Answer to the question

Hello, Daria.

I've always wondered how similar "inner emptiness" and "overflow" are. The emptiness felt inside can be the result of the suppression of a huge flow of emotions - fear, confusion, excitement, sadness. Overwhelmed with feelings can be felt as a lack of understanding “what is happening to me at all” and the inability to “catch the feeling by the tail” - there are so many of them and I don’t understand what I feel. Long-term suppression of impulses can lead to a state of depression and be felt as anhedonia (lack of pleasure from the usual activities, joy), decreased mental tone, lethargy, decreased cognitive functions (memory, attention). A similar condition, lasting more than two weeks, is the reason for contacting a specialist - a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. You write that you are confused, so let's unravel right now:

- you have desires: in independence and independence. Probably, now there are no forces for their implementation. Where to get strength? Try to recognize your feelings, instead of suppressing them, learn how to handle them carefully: scary - called a friend, found support, sad - cried, wrote in a diary, feel angry - talk about your irritation, beat the pillow, tear the paper. Find your own ways to communicate what's inside. We need all feelings and signal what is happening in the external or internal environment.

— use methods close to you in spirit: if you like to draw — draw your feelings, if you dance — express emotions with your body, if you like to sing — sing!

- the desire to be independent, probably collides with something on the way to expression. Perhaps it is fear and subsequent thoughts (“I won’t succeed”), or shame (“my desires are not serious”). Be critical of such thoughts, ask yourself questions: when did it work? What desires are serious, do I want the fulfillment of precisely “serious” desires?

- write on a piece of paper your definition of independence, what helps and what hinders in achieving it?

- do not close yourself off from people, support and kind words from a close friend or even a virtual interlocutor can give strength, become a support that will help you get on your feet.

The question was answered by Zinaida Minutina

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For almost a year now I feel empty. Interested in nothing

Requests for help Write your story

I am 16 years old, almost a year old, I feel empty. Nothing interests me, it seems that I do not love anyone, even my family.
And once it didn’t happen to me, I had feelings (fear, resentment, love, etc.), but now it’s just emptiness.
I still feel tired even when I sleep 7-9 hours. It seems to me that this is depression. They write on the Internet: take a walk, have fun, live for pleasure and so on.
But I didn’t succeed! I did everything! Everything is exactly empty in my soul. Now I’m going to turn to a psychiatrist, but I think he won’t be able to help me with anything ...

Nastya, age: 06/16/2016


It seems that not casually you have apathy. There are reasons for everything, but you kept silent about them.
It is foolish to advise you to walk and have fun for your own pleasure. You don't have emotions now... And if so, you try to change your life, make some adjustments to it. Like, for example, an early run, playing sports. Sports are always cool for a girl. A dream 9sentries won't help you feel awake.
Are you 16 years old? Are you going to college soon? Can you think about your future profession?
However, if you are thinking of going to a psychiatrist, then it's worth it. Talking to the right person should help you.
Everything needs motivation, there is no motivation, there will be nothing.

Delta , age: 18 / 29.06.2016

Hello. Nastya, perhaps the transitional age is to blame. Try to be more positive. Do what you love, it's the holidays, it's warm, sunny, it's already a reason to rejoice. Maybe you should go to the sea, go camping, somehow change the situation. Visit a psychotherapist, believe that the result will not upset you, on the contrary, the doctor will help. Health to you!

Irina, age: 28 / 29.06.2016

Go to a psychotherapist, I have about the same situation as you, I went. Now I'm on the mend, it's easier.

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