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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

A Natural Approach to Treating Depression

The information in this blog has not been verified by your country's public health authority and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. Read more

"Each person is the blacksmith of his own health or illness." Buddha


Depression is a serious illness. Never stop taking any medication prescribed by your doctor without first talking to your doctor. Talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your prescribed antidepressants. nine0003

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness and loss of enjoyment of life. This condition can become so severe that it can lead to social isolation, substance abuse, and even suicide. Depression affects millions of people around the world - it can overtake any person, at any age, regardless of his social and economic status. Depression often stems from traumatic experiences in childhood or negative adult experiences, resulting from unresolved problems that are difficult for a person to cope with. However, sometimes depression may not have an obvious cause. nine0003

Some conditions closely resemble depression, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, or chronic low-grade infections. If depression is suspected, all such diseases must be excluded.

The most common treatments include professional counseling and antidepressant therapy. Drugs prescribed to treat depression increase levels of serotonin in the brain, a chemical (a neurotransmitter) that helps send healthy signals from one brain cell to another. Researchers believe that it is an imbalance or decrease in serotonin levels that contributes to the feeling of depression that is characteristic of depression. However, there is growing evidence for other factors that can affect mood, such as gut microflora and mitochondrial health (energy-producing cells in the body). nine0003

A person with digestive problems and leaky gut syndrome develops "bad" bacteria that release a substance called LPS (lipopolysaccharide) into the bloodstream, leading to symptoms of fatigue and depression. Therefore, bowel treatment can be a crucial first step towards improving your overall mood. Similarly, according to a 2011 study, mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation increase the likelihood of developing depression, so improving the state of the brain's mitochondria can have a beneficial effect on mood. nine0003

Depression and nutrition

The food we feed our bodies can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health. A diet high in sugar, processed foods, fast food, and fortified flour is bad for the heart and increases the risk of developing diabetes. Research shows that high sugar in the diet can also exacerbate depression. According to a study published in 2015 in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , high sugar content in the diet of women after menopause increases the risk of depression. A 2002 study also proves a link between high sugar in the diet and the onset of depression. Even diet soda can affect mood, according to a 2014 study. The authors of this study concluded that drinking sweetened beverages, including diet soda, increased the risk of depression, while drinking coffee reduced the risk of depression. nine0003

Sports Therapy

It is well known that exercise can be good for the heart and circulatory system. What few people realize, however, is that exercise also serves as a cure for depression symptoms.

A 2006 study published in European Journal of Public Health, showed that women who jogged five times a week had markedly reduced symptoms of depression compared to those who did not exercise. A 2002 study found that people aged 65 and older who exercised in groups experienced a 30% reduction in depressive symptoms compared to those who did not participate in group sports. Research has also shown that exercise helps increase the density of mitochondria (which produce energy) in the brain. Perhaps this explains how exercise helps reduce depression. nine0003

People with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease should consult their healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program.

Environmental toxins

To be healthy, it is important to avoid toxins. It's a good idea to start by eating organic fruits and vegetables: some studies have shown that exposure to pesticides, when taken in excess, increases the risk of depression. It is also recommended to drink BPA-free bottled water. It is also recommended to use non-toxic medicines, cosmetics and bath accessories. nine0003

Top Depression Supplements

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids consist primarily of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A 2014 study published in Nutrition Journal , found that most Americans do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in a variety of foods, including fish (most found in mackerel, cod and salmon), walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and natto. nine0003

Much of the human brain is made up of fatty acids, so it's no surprise that they have such an impact on mood. According to a 2018 study, women who supplemented their diet with omega-3 fish oil during or immediately after pregnancy were less likely to develop postpartum depression.

In addition, the authors of a 2009 meta-analysis study concluded that omega-3 fish oil may be beneficial in the treatment of depressive disorders. Similarly, a 2014 study also demonstrated the benefit of omega-3 fish oil in the treatment of major depressive disorder. nine0003

Recommended dosage: 1000-2000 mg once or twice a day.

Vitamin D

I am a physician in Southern California, where there is more than 300 days of sunshine a year, and four out of five (80%) of my patients are clinically deficient in blood levels of 30 ng/mL ( 75 nmol/l) or lower.

A 2018 double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that when vitamin D deficiency was corrected, patients with inflammatory bowel disease and depression experienced a significant reduction in depressive symptoms. Another 2018 meta-analytic study involving 948 patients led the scientists to conclude that "vitamin D supplementation favorably affected depression scores in major depression with a modest effect."

Recommended dosage: 2000-5000 IU per day.


An important mineral and enzyme cofactor involved in over 350 chemical reactions in the human body. Adequate intake of magnesium-rich foods, including green leafy vegetables, is extremely important. Often, nutrition alone is not enough, and supplementation of the diet with nutritional supplements is required. According to a 2009 study68% of Americans are consuming less than the US Recommended Daily Allowance for magnesium. For men, this rate is 420 mg per day, and for women - 320 mg per day.

Some medicines increase the risk of magnesium deficiency. These drugs include acid-reducing drugs (eg, omeprazole, pantoprazole, ranitidine) and diuretics (furosemide, triamterine, hydrochlorothiazide).

Magnesium can also be useful for depression. Research has shown that depressed people have lower levels of magnesium in the brain than non-depressed people. In addition, low levels of magnesium in the blood lead to a decrease in brain serotonin levels. nine0003

Recommended dosage: 125-500 mg per day.


Studies show that people with depression often have low levels of zinc in their blood. A 2017 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology r concludes that zinc is important for depressed patients. The same study showed that supplementing zinc deficiency may be effective in treating psychosis. Zinc is included in most multivitamins or available as a separate dietary supplement. nine0003

Recommended dosage: 25 mg per day.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (other names cobalamin or cyanocobalamin) is an essential nutrient your body needs for optimal brain function, healthy nerves and blood. However, despite the importance of this vitamin, there is considerable evidence that people around the world are deficient in this important nutrient.

In addition, B vitamins - B2 (riboflavin), B6 ​​(pyridoxine) and B9(folic acid) – have also proven to be beneficial to neurological health. Many people take a B-complex to ensure they are taking all of the B vitamins at the same time.

S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAM-e)

SAMe (SAM-e) was found to be effective in reducing symptoms associated with depression in a study published in 2002 in the National Institutes of Health. A 2016 study found that SAMe, when used in conjunction with SSRIs, also provided additional efficacy in the treatment of depression. nine0003

In 2004, a study was conducted in patients who were not responding to treatment with conventional doctor-prescribed antidepressants. S-adenosylmethionine successfully improved health in 43% of patients.

A 2010 double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of patients with major depression reported significant improvement when supplementing physician-prescribed drug therapy with S-adenosylmethionine versus placebo (sugar pills). Finally, a more recent 2015 study showed a similar positive effect when S-adenosylmethionine was taken at a dosage of 800-1600 mg for 16 weeks in depressed patients. Similar results were achieved in 2016. nine0003

Recommended dosage: 800-1600 mg per day.

Further evidence for the need for a holistic approach to treating depression comes from a 2016 study that concluded: “Current evidence supports supplementation of SAMe, methylfolic acid, omega-3, and vitamin D with antidepressants to reduce symptoms of depression ". In other words, those who took more than one nutritional supplement felt better. nine0003

Secondary Supplements for Depression

If primary supplements do not achieve the desired goal, consideration should be given to introducing these secondary nutritional supplements into the diet.


A 2017 study found that 5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan), when taken with creatine monohydrate, may improve symptoms of depression in those who were not helped by pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Creatine monohydrate

A 2012 study showed that creatine monohydrate may be effective for depressed patients who are resistant to SSRIs. As mentioned above, when taking creatinine with 5-hydroxytryptophan, symptoms of depression also improved.


In a study on rats, lemon balm was found to increase serotonergic activity. Rats treated with lemon balm water showed "significant reductions in depression-like behavior" compared to rats treated with placebo [iii]. This suggests that lemon balm may play a role in helping to treat symptoms of depression. nine0003


A 2016 study published in Phytomedicine found that Rhodiola could be an effective treatment for depression because it helps to balance the brain's neurotransmitters.


  1. Bansal Y, Kuhad A. Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Depression. Current neuropharmacology. 2016;14(6):610-618. doi:10.2174/1 570159X14666160229114755.
  2. Hannestad J, Subramanyam K, DellaGioia N, et al. Glucose Metabolism in the Insula and Cingulate is affected by Systemic Inflammation in Humans. Journal of nuclear medicine: official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine. 2012;53(4):601-607. doi:10.2967/jnumed.111.097014
  3. Gardner A, Boles RG. Beyond the serotonin hypothesis: mitochondria, inflammation and neurodegeneration in major depression and affective spectrum disorders. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr 29;35(3):730-43.
  4. Westover AN, Marangell LB. A cross national relationship between sugar consumption and major depression? Depression and Anxiety. 2002;16:118 -120
  5. Gangwisch JE, et al. High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyzes from the Women's Health Initiative. Am J Clinic Nutr. 2015;102:454–463.
  6. Depress Anxiety. 2002;16(3):118-20.
  7. Guo X, et al. Sweetened Beverages, Coffee, and Tea and Depression Risk Among Older US Adults. PLOS ONE. 2014;9:e94715
  8. Eur J Public Health. 2006 Apr;16(2):179-84. Epub 2005 Aug 26.
  9. Br J Psychiatry. 2002 May;180:411-5.
  10. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011 Oct;36(5):598-607. doi: 10.1139/h21-076. Epub 2011 Sep 2.
  11. Freire C, Koifman S. Pesticides, depression and suicide: a systematic review of the epidemiological evidence. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2013 Jul;216(4):445-460. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2012.12.003. nine0144
  12. Papanikolaou Y, Brooks J, Reider C, Fulgoni VL. U.S. adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake: results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003–2008. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:31. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-31.
  13. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2018 May 16;238:47-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.05.018.
  14. Kraguljac NV, Montori VM, Pavuluri M, Chai HS, Wilson BS, Unal SS. Efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids in mood disorders - a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychopharmacol Bull. 2009;42(3):39-54.
  15. Grosso G, Pajak A, Marventano S, et al. Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Treatment of Depressive Disorders: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Malaga G, ed. PLOS ONE. 2014;9(5):e96905. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096905.
  16. J Postgrad Med. 2018 Jun 21. doi: 10.4103/jpgm. JPGM_571_17. [Epub ahead of print]
  17. Jacka FN, Overland S, Stewart R, Tell GS, Bjelland I, Mykletun A. Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community- dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health Study. Aust NZ J Psychiatry. 2009;43:45–52.
  18. Eby GA, Eby KL, Murk H. Magnesium and major depression. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Available from:
  19. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Nov 23;18(12). pii: E2506. doi: 10.3390/ijms18122506.
  20. Petrilli MA, Kranz TM, Kleinhaus K, et al. The Emerging Role for Zinc in Depression and Psychosis. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2017;8:414. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00414.
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  25. Bambling M, Parham SC, Coulson S, et al: S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and magnesium orotate as adjunctives to SSRIs in suboptimal treatment response of depression in adults: a pilot study. Adv Integr Med 2015; 2:56–62
  26. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2016;15(1):35-44.
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  29. [1] Lyoo IK, Yoon S, Kim T-S, et al. A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Creatine Monohydrate Augmentation for Enhanced Response to a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor in Women With Major Depressive Disorder. The American journal of psychiatry. 2012;169(9):937-945. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12010009.
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Non-prescription antidepressants for anxiety and depression, list of titles


0 ₽

NOT A MEDICINEInsomniaVitamin AVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin RVitamin SVitamins BFor AdultsFor ImmuneIronCalciumMagnesiumOmega-3For StressStressImmune SupportZinc

Author of the article

Svetlana Bukharova,

Dietitian, fitness instructor

12 years of experience. Diploma of Medical Education: DVS 1724848

All authors

Contents of the article

  • Seasonal depression or beriberi - how to distinguish?
  • Why are we sad in winter?
  • Over-the-counter antidepressants, drug names
  • What is the best antidepressant for anxiety and depression
  • What is the safest antidepressant
  • Antidepressants and alcohol
  • Ask an expert on the topic of the article

Outside the window is grey, dreary and empty. Summer colors faded, replaced by winter cold. Together with the withering of nature, the mood fades, and sadness rolls over every now and then. There is a close relationship between the onset of cold weather and depression of the psycho-emotional state.

Manifestations of dissatisfaction with oneself and the world around can be mild, not always noticeable, but can literally “cover”, deprive one of the desire to do something. Then hopelessness is felt, tearfulness appears. If you have these symptoms, you need specialist help. But with a breakdown, irritability, general lethargy, you can cope on your own. There are effective remedies that will help cheer you up during the seasonal spleen. In this article, we will tell you how to return the former energy, get rid of the winter blues and see all the colors of life again. nine0003

Seasonal depression or beriberi - how to tell the difference?

Depression is experienced by 264 million people in the world - these are the WHO data. If depression drags on, becomes moderate or severe, it can lead to serious health problems.

Seasonal depression, unlike a simple drop in mood due to stress or beriberi, has its own characteristics:

  • Lasts longer than two weeks, there is a decrease in mood.
  • Apathy occurs, there is a decrease in activity. nine0144
  • Appetite disorder appears. A person gains weight up to 6-7 kg in 2-3 months, or, conversely, loses weight dramatically.
  • Dramatically increases the duration of sleep.

Why are we sad in winter?

In the last two decades, the number of patients with seasonal depression has increased. According to doctors, from 4 to 10% of people suffer from such depressions. There are several reasons for winter melancholy. Let's talk about the main ones.

  • Lack of sun. In summer, there is enough sunshine and you feel comfortable. With the onset of cold weather, the dose of the sun decreases, biochemical processes slow down. The body begins to "protest", there is fatigue in the muscles, nervousness. The fact that the sun is the “supplier” of vitamin D has been known to everyone since childhood. And it is the lack of this vitamin that provokes an unstable psycho-emotional state in people of different ages. For example, Italian scientists from the National Institute of Aging have found a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and the onset of depressive symptoms in patients aged 65 and older. The lower the level of the "sunshine" vitamin, the higher was the risk of developing a depressive mood. And researchers from the UK have identified such a relationship in adolescents and concluded that the relationship between the concentration of vitamin D and depression occurs in childhood. nine0144
  • Psychological factors. The autumn-winter period is a kind of completion of the annual cycle. People begin to analyze their time, sum up. And plans not always conceived at the beginning of the year are implemented by the end of the year. Therefore, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction. By the end of the year, physical and moral strength is also running out, and the lack of rest, experienced emotional upheavals cause a feeling of melancholy. Sudden mood swings are possible.
  • Stress. An emergency at work, conflicts in the family lead to the fact that a person begins to negatively perceive everything that happens. According to statistics, the peak of nervous tension and fatigue occurs precisely at the end of autumn - the beginning of winter. nine0144
  • Reduced immunity. According to experts, this feature of autumn depression is associated with a decrease in the quality of the immune system. The lack of vitamins and nutrients, as well as the exacerbation of chronic diseases against the background of a decrease in immunity, negatively affects the state of the human psyche.

Over-the-counter antidepressants, drug names

Naturally formulated supplements can help with seasonal disorders and mild depression. We have collected the top 5 most popular according to the retail audit of the pharmaceutical market in Russia. Let's talk about the pros and cons of each dietary supplement. nine0003

  • Detrimax from Unipharm. The composition of "Detrimax" includes vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). This vital fat-soluble vitamin is needed for the activity of almost all organs and systems of the body, including the nervous one. Regulates the psycho-emotional sphere, improves memory, performance, mood, increases the overall tone of the body. "Detrimax" has no contraindications during pregnancy, but it should be taken with caution. Clinical studies conducted by medical scientists of the St. Petersburg North-Western State Medical University named after I.I. Mechnikov, confirmed the effectiveness of the drug. Patients improved cognitive function, decreased levels of anxiety and depression. nine0144
  • Neurouridin from Unipharm. Replenishes the deficiency of biologically active substances. Strengthens the nervous system, improves the general condition of the body, memory, attention. Reduces stress reactions. As part of the drug: uridine monophosphate, choline, vitamins B6, B1 and B12. Uridine monophosphate is important for the rapid recovery of damaged nerves. B vitamins ensure the normal functioning of the nervous system. Folic Acid is important for the brain and maintaining mental and emotional health. nine0286 Choline improves the transmission of neuromuscular signals, increases the speed of transmission of impulses along nerve fibers. The disadvantages of the drug include the fact that it can not be used during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Stressovit from Unipharm. Has a sedative effect. Helps reduce psycho-emotional stress, relieve stress, improves overall well-being, increases efficiency. The main component of the drug is magnesium . Magnesium has been proven to be the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Magnesium deficiency leads to increased irritability, fatigue, sleep disturbance. A sufficient amount of magnesium in the body increases resistance to stress, reduces the excitation of the nervous system, and normalizes sleep. The composition of "Stressovita" also includes motherwort, hops and linden flowers. nine0286 Motherwort relieves manifestations of psycho-emotional overstrain. It has a calming, anti-stress and relaxing effect. Hops - soothes and reduces stress. A similar effect in linden flowers. It is not recommended to use "Stressovit" with individual intolerance to its components, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • "Kinetop" from "Artlife". Improves mood, increases efficiency, relieves stress, anxiety, eliminates irritability. An important component of Kinetop is 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan (5-HTP), an amino acid that serves as an intermediate for the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. It is often referred to as the "happiness hormone". Serotonin improves mood. Lack of hormone leads to depression, insomnia. There is an unhealthy craving for sweets. Kinetop contains the optimal dosage of 5-HTP, as well as magnesium, zinc, vitamins B5 and B6. Another plus of Kinetop is that it does not cause addiction and withdrawal syndrome. At the same time, the drug should not be used during pregnancy, lactation, and up to 18 years.
  • Calm formula from Evalar. Dietary supplement based on motherwort . The composition of the drug also includes magnesium and vitamin B6. It has a sedative, anti-anxiety effect. Helps to resist stress, better endure psycho-emotional stress. "Calm formula" is used for increased nervous excitability, irritability, anxiety, insomnia. The drug should not be used for peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum in the acute phase, children under 18 years of age, severe renal failure. Not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. nine0218 Dietary supplement can cause allergic reactions, abdominal pain, nausea, heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation.

Important! Non-prescription herbal antidepressants are not a panacea. It is an accompanying and restorative element. He will not be able to cure a severe disease.

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Add color and positive to your life!

Many people say that dietary supplements are a placebo. In most cases, we assign them to ourselves and think that they work. And so it happens, because the power of thought is already a medicine. Think positively and a good mood will not keep you waiting. Positive emotions in life will bring the purchase of various little things that will improve your mood. The colors of life will return the study of something new, self-development, communication with relatives and friends, playing sports. Physical activity has a positive effect on the psycho-emotional balance due to the stimulation of the nervous system. Pay attention to yoga. Scientifically proven fact: Indian hatha yoga helps to forget about depression. Scientists from the Smolensk State Medical Academy studied the effects of yoga therapy on people with various forms of depressive disorders and asthenia. Patients attended classes three times a week for a month and a half. After a yoga course, 12 out of 19patients noted a significant improvement in well-being, up to the complete disappearance of signs of fatigue, increased activity, working capacity, improved mood, significantly improved overall self-esteem.

Look around - the world is full of joy at any time of the year. The main thing is to notice it in time. If your depression is not clinical in nature, you can get rid of the disease yourself and look at life with different eyes.


  • PubMed: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and depressive symptoms in older women and men. National Institute on Aging, Clinical Research Unit, USA. nine0144
  • PubMed: "Association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamins D3 and D2 with depressive symptoms in childhood - a prospective cohort study." Center for Causal Analysis in Translational Epidemiology, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Russian pharmaceutical market.
  • Medical scientific and practical journal "Attending Doctor": "Evaluation of the effectiveness of the use of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the correction of cognitive disorders in patients with cerebrovascular disease." G. I. Shvartsman, E. M. Pervova, I. V. Chistova, E. A. Yurkina. FGBOU VO SZGMU them. I. I. Mechnikov of the Ministry of Health of Russia, St. Petersburg. nine0144
  • Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy, Academy of Micronutrient Medicine, Germany.
  • "Effect of magnesium supplementation on depressive status in depressed magnesium-deficient patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. " Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.
  • "Application of the Hatha Yoga system as a stage in the complex therapy of depressive disorders." Scientific article by K. A. Yakunin I. A. Zubova. nine0144
  • World Health Organization.
  • Register of medicines of Russia.

Which antidepressant is best for anxiety and depression

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Antidepressant drugs are prescribed strictly by a doctor, after consultation. Thus, it is not possible to say which antidepressant is better, as the doctor decides. For each individual case.

Let's talk about some prescribed antidepressants:

  • Phenibut is a prescription drug. Helps reduce or disappear feelings of anxiety, tension, anxiety and fear, normalizes sleep, has some anticonvulsant effect. nine0144
  • Phenazepam is a prescription drug. The effect is manifested in a decrease in emotional stress, weakening anxiety, fear, anxiety.
  • Anafranil is a prescription drug. It has a strong antidepressant effect and common side effects. In addition to the antidepressant effect, it reduces obsession and anxiety.
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All products Anafranil

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All products Phenazepam

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Which antidepressant is the safest

The safest antidepressant, like the best, has yet to be invented. Any drugs have side effects. We can talk about drugs that have less, compared to others, negative reactions to the patient.

These include antidepressants from the group of SSRIs - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Their advantages:

  • high efficiency
  • short course of treatment
  • no withdrawal syndrome
  • simple dose selection
  • good tolerance

Because of their properties, they are often prescribed:

  • Zoloft
  • Paxil
  • Prozac
  • Trittiko
  • Fevarin
  • Cipralex
  • Cipramil

Antidepressants of a new class: Brintellix and Valdoxan also have minimal side effects.

Antidepressants and alcohol

Drinking alcohol for depression is common. What happens if antidepressants are added to this relaxation method? The group of antidepressants includes drugs with different mechanisms of action. The effect of co-administration of alcohol and antidepressants is not well understood.

Learn more