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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.

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Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Why Am I Sad for No Reason? What Might Be Happening

Sadness is a temporary state that often has a clear cause, like a big disappointment, the loss of someone close to you, or bad news from someone you love.

This type of sadness can fluctuate throughout the day. In certain moments, the emotional burden might feel particularly heavy. You might cry often, feel numb or drained, and struggle to concentrate.

At other times — when you get lost in something you enjoy or when a loved one distracts you — your sorrow may seem light enough that you can barely feel its weight. While it might linger in some form for days or weeks, it generally begins to ease naturally.

Persistent sadness is something else entirely. It can wrap around you like a heavy blanket, muffling the sensations and joy of everyday life. This sadness can leave you feeling low, empty, and defeated. You don’t know what caused your unhappiness, so you have no idea how to start feeling better.

Feeling sad isn’t at all unusual. After all, sorrow is a normal human response to disappointment and loss. Sadness that doesn’t have a clear reason behind it and doesn’t seem to improve, however, may suggest something else is going on.

While not everyone with depression will feel sad, unexplainable sadness you can’t seem to shake is one of the primary signs of depression.

If your sadness does relate to depression, you’ll likely feel sad nearly all of the time — almost every day, for most of each day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer. Sadness, in other words, seems to become a constant companion.

With depression, you’ll experience other symptoms, too. If several of the signs below accompany your sad or tearful mood, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with depression:

  • feelings of anxiety or emptiness
  • a sense of pessimism and hopelessness about the future
  • increased irritability
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • little interest in the things you usually enjoy
  • fatigue, lack of energy
  • unexplained physical tension, pain, or digestive issues
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • slowed movements or speech
  • restlessness or agitation
  • trouble with concentration, memory, and decision making
  • appetite changes

Chronic sadness, especially when related to depression, might also prompt regular thoughts of death or suicide. Even if you don’t have a plan to act on these thoughts, it’s always best to talk to someone you trust and get support right away (more on how to do this later).

You might begin to notice your feelings of sadness, along with any other symptoms you experience, follow a specific pattern. Depression can take different forms, and various underlying factors can have an impact on the way your symptoms show up.

A few things to look for:

Rapid shifts in mood

People living with bipolar disorder often experience episodes of depression as part of a cycle that also includes episodes of mania or hypomania.

You might notice you suddenly feel intensely happy, even euphoric. This abrupt change in mood might also involve:

  • impulsive behavior
  • restlessness and irritability
  • a renewed sense of energy that leaves you fixating on certain projects or activities
  • an increase in confidence and self-esteem
  • less of a need for sleep

This episode might last a week, or longer.

Somewhere around 40 percent of people with bipolar disorder have what’s known as mixed features. You could experience sadness and other symptoms of depression at the same time as mania.

This combination of symptoms can make it harder to understand what you’re experiencing, which could add to your distress.

Seasonal sadness

Maybe your sadness seems to arrive or intensify around the same time of year the days begin to shorten. Once the longer, sunnier days of spring and summer arrive, you feel better, year after year.

It’s pretty common to feel a little low in autumn and winter. The nights get long and cold, and there are plenty of days when you may not even see the sun.

If this seasonal sadness persists and becomes serious enough to affect daily life, you could have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs along with seasonal changes.

Along with other common depression symptoms, you might also notice:

  • angry, pessimistic, or frustrated thoughts about the weather
  • withdrawal or increased avoidance of social settings
  • an increased desire to eat and sleep

Sadness before your menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, or after childbirth

Reproductive hormones can also play a part in depression symptoms, so tracking what time of the month symptoms show up can offer some important clues.

  • Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder generally show up a week or so before your period starts. Along with depression symptoms, you might experience anxiety or nervousness, paranoia, or panic. Some people also have a sense of general overwhelm, or feel as if they’re losing control.
  • Perinatal depression involves episodes of depression that might begin during pregnancy or anytime in the first year after childbirth. It can involve worries about your ability to care for your child and intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your child. You might also struggle to bond with your child.
  • Depression symptoms can also develop along with perimenopause, or the transitional period before menopause. You might feel very tearful, lose interest in your usual activities, and find it difficult to manage ordinary stressors.

Mild sadness and emptiness that never seems to go away

Symptoms of depression often become serious enough to get in the way of everyday functioning, but that isn’t always the case.

With most forms of depression, periods of sadness might last a few weeks or longer, depending on the type of depression you have, and then lift temporarily. You might not feel sad or notice any other symptoms for some time.

With persistent depressive disorder (PDD), on the other hand, mood symptoms won’t show up in clear episodes. Instead, they often last for years. With PDD, you may no longer recall a time when you didn’t feel somewhat sad or depressed. You might:

  • have trouble finding pleasure and joy in anything at all
  • fall into patterns of pessimistic or hopeless thinking
  • have low self-esteem
  • have low energy for most activities

Unlike symptoms of major depression, symptoms of PDD may not prevent you from living your daily life. Still, as you work, go to school, and take care of your regular responsibilities. you’ll likely notice an ever-present sad or low mood.

When sadness tints every aspect of your day-to-day an unrelenting gray, you might have trouble finding relief. Feeling down can also make it more difficult to brainstorm potentially helpful changes, which is why professional support can make a big difference (more on this in a moment).

In the meantime, these strategies may offer a bit of relief.

Talk to loved ones

Many of the symptoms associated with sadness or depression can prompt you to pull back from others rather than seek emotional support.

When feeling irritable, you might get frustrated with loved ones easily. You might experience guilt over negative feelings toward others, your need to cancel plans, or your disinterest in your usual activities. It’s also fairly common to find yourself doubting whether loved ones actually care about you and want to spend time with you.

Isolating yourself will generally only worsen sadness, though, so sharing your feelings with someone you trust can help a lot. Even opening up to just one close friend or family member can help you feel less alone.

Talking won’t necessarily make your symptoms go away, but it can help the burden seem lighter. You’ll also have someone you can turn to if you need additional support.

Add a little humor

People commonly use humor as a method of coping with depression and other mental health conditions.

Even when you don’t feel much like laughing or cracking jokes, funny books, YouTube videos, or your favorite comedy program can often take the edge off your sadness and help raise your spirits.

Not a fan of comedy? Taking a beloved book off the shelf or curling up with a nostalgic movie can sometimes offer similar benefits.

Listen to music

Music offers a number of mental health benefits, including temporary relief from sadness and other symptoms of depression. It can help energize you, so you could also see some improvements in any fatigue you’re experiencing.

Listening to music can encourage your brain to produce hormones like dopamine and serotonin. These “happy hormones” have been linked to improvements in mood and reduced anxiety and stress.

Just try to avoid music that matches your mood. Wallowing can seem like a good way to get those feelings out, but mournful tunes might end up worsening sadness or depression. Aim for upbeat music with a faster tempo.

Do something you enjoy

Your favorite hobbies may seem less enjoyable when you feel sad or down, but giving them a try anyway can sometimes offer mood-boosting benefits.

If you’re struggling to muster up any energy, try low-key activities instead of ones that you feel exhausted just thinking about.

A few possibilities:

  • reading a book
  • working on a craft project
  • taking a warm bath with relaxing music and candles or essential oils
  • calling a friend
  • cuddling your pet

Spend some time in the sun

“Have you tried going outside?” can sound like something a well-meaning loved one with no real knowledge of mood disorders might say. Yet while sunlight won’t completely cure feelings of sadness or depression, regular sun exposure can make a difference for both physical and mental well-being.

Experts believe sunlight prompts your brain to produce serotonin. When you have lower levels of this hormone in your system, you’re more likely to feel depressed, especially as fall and winter roll around. Spending more time in the sun, then, can increase serotonin and potentially relieve sadness.

Exercise can also offer some mood-boosting benefits, so if you feel up to it, combine your sun exposure with a walk around your neighborhood or in your favorite park.

Can’t get outside easily? Little sun to speak of? Light therapy with a SAD lamp can help you get some artificial sun that still offers very real benefits.

Coping strategies won’t always help relieve sadness. If nothing seems to help you find relief, it may be time to talk to a therapist or other healthcare professional.

Professional support is always recommended when symptoms:

  • go away and come back regularly or continue to get worse
  • begin to affect daily life and relationships
  • keep you from taking care of responsibilities
  • show up in physical ways — appetite or sleep changes, unexplained aches and pains
If you need help now

It’s important to get help right away if you have thoughts of death, dying, or suicide. Therapy offers a safe space to address and manage these thoughts over the long term, but in-the-moment support may be more helpful if you’re experiencing distressing thoughts during a mental health crisis.

  • Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
  • Access the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 (686868 in Canada, 85258 in the UK).

You can find a therapist in your area with a quick Google search, using a therapist directory, or by asking a primary care provider for a referral.

When talking with a healthcare professional, be sure to tell them about any patterns you’ve noticed with your symptoms, including seasonal mood changes or cycles between extreme sadness and extreme elation.

Also, consider keeping track of changing moods and emotions in a journal. This helps express and sort through feelings at the moment, but it also creates a log of symptoms you can share with your care team.

Feeling sad all the time for no specific reason doesn’t always mean you have depression, but it does suggest you could be experiencing something more complex than sadness alone.

When sadness lingers and becomes more of a fixed state of being, talking to a therapist can have a lot of benefits. In the meantime, be gentle with yourself and try to remember that this feeling won’t last forever.

Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.

What to do to stop feeling overwhelmed

August 10, 2016 Productivity

Do you feel that your strength is at the limit, and the work has not been going well for a long time? Find out why this happens and what to do to correct the situation and enjoy life again.



You have a lot to do, but critically little time to complete them. Too many people want you to pay attention to them, but you can't because you're always in a hurry somewhere. You don’t understand how you can do everything on time, and even so that there is time for your personal life. Familiar situation?

At the dawn of the digital era, we firmly believed that gadgets would make our lives easier and less stressful in many ways. It seems like we've never been so wrong.

We have started working much harder than before and we can't stop even if we really want to: smartphones, Skype, instant messengers and e-mail have become an integral part of modern life. Yes, and colleagues from different time zones who want to be in touch around the clock. We are stuck at work. It is not at all surprising that with such a frantic pace of life, we often feel unwell.

Reasons why people feel overwhelmed

Sometimes it can be quite difficult to understand what exactly caused your depression. It seems like it all came crashing down at once. But think about this: fatigue is just a feeling that will pass sooner or later, you just need to identify what caused it and eliminate the cause.

Here is a short list of the most common causes of depression.

  • Someone is constantly taking advantage of you, and you don't know how to handle the situation and get rid of unpleasant obligations.
  • You are very much afraid that you will get into a compromising situation and will not be able to get out of it with dignity.
  • You are too responsible and are afraid to admit to yourself that you are no longer able to deal with the accumulated problems on your own.
  • You do not understand what you are asked to do, but you are afraid to confess, and this weighs on you.

What to do if everything went wrong

When it seems to you that everything in the world is infinitely sad and hopelessly bad, it is quite natural that you begin to feel the same way. Being depressed and tired from time to time is absolutely normal, but if this condition has become your constant companion, then you need to take appropriate measures.

  • Understand the real reason for your bad condition. What really upsets you? Or who?
  • Think about what you can change. Look at the problem realistically, honestly assess whether the situation can be turned around for the better, and do whatever is necessary to do so.
  • Make a plan. Draft a to-do list of several items that will help solve the problem. Commit changes as you go. Feel free to ask for help.

It also happens that you are simply unable to influence the current situation. Then you just need to accept it. Yes, it is not easy, but it makes a valuable contribution to the treasury of your life experience.

Done with the general advice. Let's move on to specific actions that you need to perform daily in order to feel much better.

1. Delegate

Do only what you are really good at. Sometimes people take on extra tasks just because they're easy enough, done quickly, and don't require a lot of effort. Sometimes - because of distrust of other people or because they believe that no one else is able to cope with them. Sometimes it's just out of habit.

All these tasks can easily be delegated to someone else so that you no longer feel like a loaded donkey. Ask yourself: Am I really the only person who can do this? In most cases, the answer will be no.

2. Question

Too often we do things just because we have to, or because we always did them. But are they really necessary? It is quite possible that we regularly spend a lot of time on absolutely useless activities. To stop wasting precious minutes, ask yourself two questions: Do I really have to complete this task? Will anything change if I don't do it? If both answers are negative, feel free to cross this item off your to-do list.

3. Take breaks

Find time to take a break. No matter how busy your schedule is, it is quite possible to allocate at least 15 minutes in it. This time will be enough for your brain to take a break and start working much more efficiently.

Imagine that these 15 minutes are the kind of mini-vacation you miss so much. Close your eyes for a couple of minutes and allow yourself to relax a little. And then, as if from the outside, try to look at the problem that worries you. We assure you, a solution will definitely be found.

4. Ask for help

When we feel overwhelmed and overwhelmed, we need support more than ever. For her, we turn to friends, family and even colleagues. Complaining about life within reasonable limits is perfectly acceptable, but know the measure: if you start constantly telling everyone about how difficult it is for you, you will achieve exactly the opposite effect. You don't need a reputation as a whiner, do you?

It is often helpful to look at a situation through the eyes of another person.

Tell someone about your concerns and ask for advice. Ask how your interlocutor would act in a similar situation and what actions he would take. Sometimes a fresh look helps to find rather unexpected ways out of a critical situation. And in general, maybe you are winding yourself up in vain and the problem is not as terrible as it seems?


Learn to refuse

Assess your abilities adequately: if you cannot cope with a large amount of work on your own, do not burden yourself with things just because it is inconvenient for you to refuse. Set reasonable boundaries and learn how to finally say the word "no". Every time before agreeing to something, think twice whether you can really cope with the obligations entrusted to you.

Don't know how to politely refuse? Be diplomatic. If your requester is a boss or an important client, try saying things like, “This is going to be pretty difficult given our current priorities. Let's try to find other ways to solve the problem?

6. Think about the people closest to you

If you can't cope with the growing tension, think about your closest people and how they would support you if they were suddenly nearby. Instead of worrying about what a new colleague or some unfamiliar person will think of you, it’s better to remember those whose opinion you really value. This will give you the strength you need right now.

I feel superfluous | PSYCHOLOGIES

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Know Yourself Man among people

“I feel out of place”, “no one is happy with me” - someone who constantly feels rejected, is distrustful of contacts with other people. The slightest inattention on their part makes you feel helpless again and again. “Once having experienced this painful feeling, such a person unconsciously expects that everything will happen again: he will be betrayed, abandoned,” explains existential psychotherapist Svetlana Krivtsova.

Trying to avoid such a development of events, each time he tests the relationship for strength and, as a result, he remains alone again. “Trying to arouse interest in himself, to please him, he gradually becomes dependent on the opinions and assessments of other people,” continues Svetlana Krivtsova, “and his suspiciousness simply exhausts those who are nearby. Relationships become formal, often full of hostility, and eventually end. ” To live in constant expectation of a break is to provoke a break.

Child injury

“When I was four, my older brother became seriously ill and my mother sent me to stay with my grandmother for a few months,” says 29-year-old Yaroslav. “I was very worried: it seemed to me that I behaved so badly that my mother had to abandon me.”

The fear of being abandoned first appears in childhood and is usually associated with sudden (often prolonged) separation from parents.

“Little children cannot understand the meaning of adults' actions and suffer from loneliness,” explains Svetlana Krivtsova. “The memory that you didn’t please your parents in some way and therefore turned out to be unnecessary remains for many years.” Those whom their parents really “abandoned” in childhood, without supporting them in a difficult situation, can also feel their abandonment.

“I am learning to talk about my feelings”

Valeria, 33 years old

“I know well what it means to be unwanted. When my little sister was born, my mother quit her job to take care of it. Maybe my fears appeared then? I always felt that I was not with them. At school, too, no one wanted to be friends with me, and as a teenager, I was absolutely sure that I was unworthy of love. And indeed, no one paid attention to me, I was invisible.

At some point, the feeling of rejection became too painful, but it helped me to see myself from the outside: I turned out to be so closed, gloomy. Now I try to be more sociable, to speak more openly about my feelings, to articulate more clearly what worries me. Surprisingly, my loved ones now talk about restraint and vulnerability as the best features of my strong character.

Early sacrifices

Sometimes parents force a child very early to take on "adult" responsibilities, to sacrifice their interests in favor of a brother or sister, and the child grows up, confident that no one cares about him. “We feel the most severe pain in those moments when we experience our own worthlessness,” says Svetlana Krivtsova. “If they do this, it means that it is possible with me, it means that I am not worthy of another.” Feeling “worst of all”, building relationships with others is excruciatingly difficult. There are unconscious "filters" through which the growing child "reinterprets" the world in his own way ... and always not in his favor.

The ugly duckling

Some people are always preoccupied with adjusting their behavior to the expectations of others. “The reason is the feeling “I ended up here by chance, I am an ugly duckling among white swans,” explains psychoanalyst Marie-Dominique Linder. - This painful feeling is especially strong in adolescence. The teenager is trying with all his might to hide his dissimilarity so that his peers do not push him away, do not expel him from his company. Becoming an adult means overcoming this crisis and asserting yourself as a person.

What to do?

Understand the “history” of your feeling

Try to remember when the painful feeling of rejection first arose. What event changed your attitude towards yourself? Once you understand this, you can begin to control your experiences.

Do not dramatize

Try to talk freely about your feelings, write down your story. Humor helps you connect with people. By saying what you feel, you will slightly weaken the power of the image in whose captivity you live.

Open up to people

Don't wait for someone to help you. It takes serious effort to build relationships. Take the first step by trying to see the other person as an ally rather than a potential offender.

Grow up

Accept the fact that you are different from others (just like they are from you), and you do not need their approval to be yourself. By refusing to live dependent on the judgmental gaze of others, you can finally grow up.

Advice to a stranger

How to help someone who feels rejected in any situation? In a conversation, focus on his opinion, emphasizing that his point of view is important to you.

Learn more