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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.
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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Unreasonable anxiety - why there is a constant state of anxiety
All people experience anxiety from time to time. For example, you can get nervous when you have a fight with a loved one or before taking an exam. Anxiety itself is not a very pleasant emotion, but it is completely normal.
Sometimes anxiety becomes persistent and uncontrollable. In situations where it interferes with everyday life, takes on a permanent or excessively acute character, the problem cannot be ignored. You should contact a specialist and figure out what anxiety means in your case. Perhaps you need qualified help.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in modern society.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in modern society. Usually a person cannot understand what anxiety means, from which it is impossible to get rid of. The disease makes you feel scared and restless for no apparent reason. If left untreated, it becomes a long-term problem and significantly reduces the quality of life. At the same time, no matter what form of anxiety disorder the patient suffers from, an experienced specialist will always select a therapy that will help to cope with the disease.
What is the alarm
Common signs of anxiety disorders to look out for include:
- Feeling nervous and uncontrollable restlessness that is not appropriate for the situation;
- Unreasonable panic, premonition of catastrophe or death;
- Increased activity of the autonomic nervous system: dizziness, sweating, trembling, rapid breathing, palpitations, pain in the heart, dry mouth, nausea, stool disturbance;
- Sleep and appetite disorders;
- Problems with concentration, inability to distract from the object of concern;
- Anxiety, irritability;
- Strong, uncontrollable feeling of fear in relation to ordinary situations (phobias).
Anxiety, whatever it may be, always has characteristic features and causes. The concept of "anxiety disorder" is general and corresponds to several diagnoses, each of which has its own characteristics. It is important to distinguish one from the other in order to correctly diagnose and choose the correct treatment. Experience and high qualifications will allow a specialist to do this without difficulty.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a mental illness characterized by so-called non-fixed anxiety. This is groundless anxiety, which does not depend on specific circumstances, but is persistent and uncontrollable. Physical manifestations in the form of vegetative symptoms are added to anxiety. All this greatly interferes with studying, working and communicating. Clinically significant is the presence of signs of GAD for 6 months.
A distinctive feature is the generalization of sensations: constant anxiety in GAD does not have a specific stressor, it is directed to life circumstances in general, including minor and unlikely situations. The course is permanent, the symptoms are always present, from time to time they intensify, but they never acquire an acute form, as in panic attacks.
The concept of "anxiety disorder" is general and corresponds to several diagnoses, each of which has its own characteristics.
Panic disorder (panic attacks) are abrupt episodes of panic and discomfort, which are accompanied by fear of death and physical manifestations: interruptions in the heart, feeling short of breath, dizziness.
Unlike GAD, panic attacks occur spontaneously and acutely. Patients are in constant expectation of an attack, they experience a debilitating feeling of anxiety. With GAD, a person is constantly in a state of anxiety, but it is not associated with the expectation of an attack, but with bad forebodings and fears about all kinds of life situations.
Panic attacks are also important to distinguish from phobic disorders. Attacks can be one of the signs of a phobia and speak of its severity. If there is a primary phobia, then it will be the main diagnosis.
This disorder should be differentiated from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in which panic attacks can occur only when trying to suppress intrusive thoughts, and from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the latter case, anxiety occurs only under certain circumstances that remind the patient of the cause of the trauma.
People suffering from this disorder do their best to avoid frightening circumstances, which can impose significant restrictions on lifestyle.
Phobic disorder (phobias) are acute episodes of panic that are associated with specific situations and objects. People suffering from this disorder do their best to avoid frightening circumstances, which can impose significant restrictions on lifestyle.
Among the phobias, there are social phobia - an overwhelming fear of social interactions, and agoraphobia, which is a complex of similar fears associated with the fear of open and closed spaces. There are other isolated phobias, but a distinctive feature of this type is that the fear occurs in strictly defined situations and is limited only to them.
Anxious depression. The usual signs of an anxiety disorder are characterized by nervousness, irritability, problems with sleep and concentration. But, unlike other disorders, the depressive component is also mandatory - depressed mood, melancholy, lack of interest in life. In mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, the symptoms of anxiety and depression are present to an equal degree, without a clear predominance of one over the other, which does not allow them to be considered separately from each other.
Schizoaffective disorder is another disease in which mood disorders are observed: unreasonable anxiety, guilt, problems with concentration, irritability, and more. However, according to ICD-10, this diagnosis can only be confirmed when the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions and hallucinations, are combined with affective disorders of a depressive or manic nature.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is obsessive ideas based on irrational thoughts and fears that force a person to perform certain actions - rituals (ritual behavior).
To alleviate concerns, a person can endlessly wash their hands, even if the skin on them becomes irritated and cracked.
Obsessions and compulsions greatly interfere with daily activities. If a person tries to ignore these thoughts, anxiety increases. Because of this, the patient is forced to continue to perform the ritual in order to relieve stress. OCD often centers around specific themes, such as the fear of germs. To alleviate concerns, a person can endlessly wash their hands, even if the skin on them becomes irritated and cracked.
Alarm causes. Diagnostics
The causes of anxiety disorders are varied, as are the types themselves. Usually, in the pathological state of unreasonable anxiety, the causes consist of a complex interaction of factors that may include:
- genetic predisposition;
- imbalance of neurotransmitters;
- personality traits: people with a labile psyche, sensitive temperament, prone to negative emotions;
- stressful situations, mental trauma, unfavorable living conditions, somatic diseases;
- use of drugs, alcohol, improper medication.
Only a qualified psychiatrist can correctly identify the causes of anxiety and provide assistance. You can not delay seeking help, as the condition may worsen and be complicated by social isolation, suicidal actions and various types of addiction.
To conduct a complete diagnosis of the condition, the doctor uses the following methods:
- Psychiatric examination - a specialist collects a detailed anamnesis, takes into account clinical manifestations and compares them with diagnostic criteria.
- Pathopsychological research is a modern technique that helps to understand the personal characteristics and psychological state of the patient.
- Laboratory and instrumental examination - Neurotest and Neurophysiological test system allow you to get an objective idea of the state of the nervous system and cognitive functions, EEG and other instrumental methods help to exclude organic pathology
Treatment of anxiety and anxiety disorders
Treatment depends on the type of disorder and may include one or a combination of the following approaches.
Individual psychotherapy is the main treatment for any type of disorder. Allows you to find out why anxiety has arisen and whether it is pathological. Clinical signs are analyzed and problems are worked out.
One of the effective methods for correcting anxiety disorders, especially phobic ones, OCD and GAD, has become cognitive behavioral therapy. With the help of modeling problem situations, the patient, under the guidance of a doctor, learns to cope with panic and acquires skills that allow him to return to a normal lifestyle.
Drug therapy to eliminate acute symptoms, relieve anxiety and depression, if necessary, mild pharmacotherapy with antidepressants or modern tranquilizers can be used.
As additional methods that accelerate adaptation and help to cope with stress, physiotherapy, breathing exercises, art therapy, biofeedback therapy are used.
When to seek immediate help:
- When the condition interferes with work, relationships and other areas of life;
- If the person cannot control their fear or intrusive thoughts;
- If a person feels constantly depressed, disturbed in sleep and concentration, consumes large amounts of alcohol to cope with anxiety;
- There are suicidal thoughts.
The symptoms of an anxiety disorder do not go away on their own. This is a serious problem that, without specialized help, progresses over time. To avoid this and return to a full life without painful fears, you need to contact a specialist. The sooner the patient starts therapy, the faster and easier it will be to get the result.
12 signs of anxiety disorder - Lifehacker
September 20, 2017Health
Some mental disorders pretend to be commonplace. An anxiety disorder is one of those, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be treated.
Anxiety is an emotion that all people experience when they are nervous or afraid of something. It’s unpleasant to be “on your nerves” all the time, but what can you do if life is like this: there will always be a reason for anxiety and fear, you need to learn to keep your emotions under control, and everything will be fine. In most cases, this is exactly the case.
It's okay to be anxious. Sometimes it’s even helpful: when we worry about something, we pay more attention to it, work harder, and generally achieve better results.
But sometimes anxiety goes beyond reasonable limits and interferes with life. And this is already an anxiety disorder - a condition that can ruin everything and which requires special treatment.
Why Anxiety Disorder Occurs
As in the case of most mental disorders, no one can say exactly why anxiety clings to us: so far too little is known about the brain to speak with confidence about the causes. Several factors are most likely to blame, from ubiquitous genetics to traumatic experiences.
For some, anxiety appears due to the excitation of certain parts of the brain, for some, the hormones - serotonin and norepinephrine are acting up, and for some, the disorder occurs as a load of other diseases, and not necessarily mental ones.
What is an anxiety disorder like
To anxiety disorders Studying Anxiety Disorders. belong to several groups of diseases.
- Generalized anxiety disorder . This is the case when anxiety does not appear because of exams or the upcoming acquaintance with the parents of a loved one. Anxiety comes by itself, it does not need a reason, and the experiences are so strong that they do not allow a person to perform even simple daily activities.
- Social anxiety disorder . Fear that prevents being among people. Someone is afraid of other people's assessments, someone is afraid of other people's actions. Be that as it may, it interferes with studying, working, even going to the store and saying hello to neighbors.
- Panic disorder . People with this disease experience panic attacks: they are so scared that sometimes they cannot take a step. The heart beats at a frantic speed, it gets dark in the eyes, there is not enough air. These attacks can come at the most unexpected moment, and sometimes because of them a person is afraid to leave the house.
- Phobias . When a person is afraid of something specific.
In addition, anxiety disorder often occurs in combination with other problems: bipolar or obsessive-compulsive disorder or depression.
How to understand that this is a disorder
The main symptom is a constant feeling of anxiety, which lasts for at least six months, provided that there are no reasons to be nervous or they are insignificant, and emotional reactions are disproportionately strong. This means that anxiety changes life: you refuse work, projects, walks, meetings or acquaintances, some activity just because you worry too much.
Other symptoms Generalized anxiety disorder in adults - Symptoms. that hint that something is wrong:
- constant fatigue;
- constant fear;
- inability to concentrate;
- inability to relax;
- trembling in the hands;
- palpitations, although there are no cardiac abnormalities;
- excessive sweating;
- pain in the head, stomach, muscles - despite the fact that doctors do not find any violations.
There is no exact test or analysis by which to identify an anxiety disorder, because anxiety cannot be measured or touched. The decision on the diagnosis is made by a specialist who looks at all the symptoms and complaints.
Because of this, there is a temptation to go to extremes: either to diagnose yourself with a disorder when a black streak just began in life, or not to pay attention to your condition and scold your weak-willed character, when, due to fear, an attempt to go out into the street turns into feat.
Don't get carried away and confuse constant stress with constant anxiety.
Stress is a response to a stimulus. For example, on a call from a dissatisfied customer. When the situation changes, the stress goes away. And anxiety can remain - this is a reaction of the body that occurs even if there is no direct effect. For example, when an incoming call comes from a regular customer who is happy with everything, but picking up the phone is still scary. If the anxiety is so strong that any phone call is torture, then this is already a disorder.
No need to hide your head in the sand and pretend that everything is fine when constant stress interferes with life.
It is not customary to go to the doctor with such problems, and anxiety is often confused with suspiciousness and even cowardice, and being a coward in society is a shame.
If a person shares his fears, he is more likely to receive advice to pull himself together and not become limp than an offer to find a good doctor. The trouble is that it will not be possible to overcome the disorder with a powerful effort of will, just as it will not be possible to cure tuberculosis by meditation.
How to treat anxiety
Chronic anxiety is treated like other mental disorders. For this, there are psychotherapists who, contrary to popular myths, do not just talk to patients about a difficult childhood, but help to find such techniques and techniques that really improve the condition.
Someone will feel better after a few conversations, someone will be helped by pharmacology. The doctor will help you review your lifestyle, find the reasons why you are nervous a lot, assess how severe the symptoms are and whether you need to take medication.
If you still think you don't need a therapist, try taming your anxiety yourself.
1. Find the cause
Analyze what you worry about most and most often, and try to eliminate this factor from your life. Anxiety is a natural mechanism that is needed for our own safety. We are afraid of something dangerous that can harm us.
Maybe if you are constantly shaking with fear of the authorities, it is better to change jobs and relax? If you succeed, then your anxiety is not caused by a disorder, you don’t need to treat anything - live and enjoy life. But if it is not possible to isolate the cause of anxiety, then it is better to seek help.
2. Exercise regularly
There are many blind spots in the treatment of mental disorders, but researchers agree on one thing: regular exercise really helps keep the mind in order.