This is especially true these days, when studies have found that more than half of all Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings and checking combined. Additionally, almost two-thirds are unable to pay their credit card balances every month, which means they’re borrowing more than they can pay and leaving no room for recovery-related expenses.
Fortunately, there are mental health and addiction resources available at no cost at all. Some are informative, meant to educate you about the illness or addiction so you know exactly what it is and how others have successfully overcome it. Others are action-based, supplying you with the tools or exercises necessary to begin to live a better life.
Regardless of which type you choose to access, remember that help is available and that it doesn’t have to cost a thing.
MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER RESOURCESThe National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one out of every five people struggle with some type of mental illness, and one out of 25 is battling a condition severe enough that it impacts their everyday “normal” life activities. If you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or have not been diagnosed, yet believe that you may have one, here are some online guides and resources that can help.
Depression/LossDepression and Bipolar Support Alliance: This organization has a ton of depression-specific information on their website, whether you’re searching for yourself or someone else. They also have training and events centered on this condition (as well as bipolar disorder), so you can pick the option that suits you best. The site features a wellness section, too, where you can read about research related to depression and learn some of the tools that can help ease it. Additionally, there are links to peer groups, enabling you to find local support with a click of the mouse.
The Center for Complicated Grief: Are you struggling with the loss of a loved one? If so, the Center for Complicated Grief’s website provides information so you can better understand your grief, helping you to realize that you’re not alone. It also contains links to various self-treatment options, some of which you can do right now to begin feeling better. For instance, they have an article about practicing self-compassion, an action you can take that can help you begin to work through the emotions related to your loss in a positive way.
IMAlive: This site is intended to help people who are either in crisis or considering suicide. Just click on the tab and you’re able to chat immediately with a trained professional: someone who will listen as you talk about what is happening in your life; someone who can help you come up with viable and worthy solutions to whatever is causing your angst. Their goal is to provide you with the help you need so you can work through what is going on and learn to enjoy life again.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: If you feel like hurting yourself and think that having a support group may help, this website can help you find one in or near your area. It offers access to meeting locations in the U.S., Canada, China, Australia, and Brazil, giving you many different options regardless of where you live, work, or travel to.
Stress & AnxietyAmerican Institute of Stress: Realistically, everyone has stress on some level, but sometimes it can feel like too much. So, if you’re looking to learn more about what stress is, how it affects you, and how to get rid of it, this website can help. It also has special sections for military personnel, offering help on a more personalized level for those who have served our country.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): Find support groups dedicated specifically for those who have anxiety and depression disorders using the simple online search. Some are offered in-person (with locations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa), whereas others are conducted over the internet or by phone. The option is yours.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)National Center for PTSD: If you have PTSD or think you may have it, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can connect you with a PTSD peer-support group in your area. This enables you to meet and get to know people around you who are also suffering with PTSD, helping you learn what works best when it comes to relieving its effects.
Sidran Institute: For individuals struggling with PTSD (as well as their friends and family), visiting the Sidran Institute’s website offers hope via trauma workshops, informative articles, and web links. It also provides tools designed to alleviate the stress, tension, fear, and depression common with this particular condition. It supplies a number of tips for PTSD sufferers when it comes to dealing with events that can add to this condition, such as holidays, parenting, health, and more.
Eating/Body Image DisordersOvereaters Anonymous: Whether you overeat, under-eat, eat compulsively, binge, or purge, Overeaters Anonymous’ website offers a variety of different services that can help you overcome your unhealthy food-related behaviors. From finding a local meeting full of others who feel the same to locating virtual workshops which provide support and inspiration, this site is loaded with information.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD): Access this website and you’ll find support groups, helplines, treatment centers, and other resources designed to help overcome a variety of eating disorders. You can also request a Recovery Mentor or Grocery Buddy right on their homepage, giving you that one-on-one person who can help make your recovery a greater success.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Foundation: This foundation provides free online information and resources for individuals with a “disabling preoccupation with perceived defects or flaws in appearance.” On their site you can learn more about BDD, take a couple different questionnaires to help you figure out if you may have it, and gain access to many different links that will connect you with other available resources for body-related issues.
Other Mental Disorder ResourcesHealing from BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder): This website offers a chat room for people with borderline personality disorder. Experts who treat this specific mental health condition are in the room as well. That makes it a good place to share your thoughts about BPD, ask any questions you may have, and find helpful ideas for better dealing with the challenges you face.
International OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Foundation: If you have obsessive compulsive disorder, this site can connect you to a variety of different resources available to you—from area programs to local support groups. This enables you to get help in the way that feels the most comfortable and appropriate for you.
Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA): This website provides information and literature designed to help individuals develop healthier relationships. It does this by explaining what codependence is and how to overcome it, providing you with support as you make the transition.
Emotions Anonymous (EA): EA offers supportive meetings for people who struggle with their emotions, providing a greater sense of well-being as a result. Their philosophy is, “We may each have different symptoms, but the underlying emotions are the same or similar.” Thus, attending their meetings—whether in person, virtually, or over the phone—enables you to connect with others on a basic emotional level as you work together to make a positive change.
ADDICTION RESOURCESThe American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) shares that addiction is a disease which affects a person’s brain as it relates to reward, memory, and motivation. ASAM further states that it is also “characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”
Many different forms of addiction exist. Below, you can find out more about some of them and the online resources that may be able to help, should they apply to you or someone you love.
Alcohol AddictionAlcoholics Anonymous (AA): Arguably the most well-known organization for overcoming alcohol addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous’ website explains what they can do with their 12-step program when it comes to beating this particular addiction. It also gives you the option of finding an AA group in your area, making it easier than ever to locate people who can support you in your journey toward lifelong sobriety.
Al-Anon: It isn’t just alcoholics who struggle with the negative effects of alcohol addiction; family and friends often have a difficult time, too. Al-Anon is a group designed specifically for them. It provides a safe and supportive place to share their concerns, stories, and experiences in an effort to help each other better cope with the impact addiction is having on their lives.
LifeRing: If AA’s recovery model isn’t of interest to you, LifeRing is another alcohol addiction self-treatment option. With focus on the Sober Self (the name they use to reference their belief that “in every addict there exists the desire to find lasting sobriety”), they strive to make that persona more powerful than the Addict Self (the part that wants control and leads to substance use and abuse). They do this through face-to-face meetings, online meetings, email groups, and forums, and the information for all of these is on their site.
Drug AddictionNarcotics Anonymous (NA): If you struggle with narcotic addiction, NA’s website can connect you to the recovery resources that make the most sense for you. You can find literature and other materials created by both members and experts, news related to NA workshops and projects, and a “Find a Meeting” option so you can locate meeting venues in and around your geographic area.
Marijuana Anonymous (MA): This online resource contains information for marijuana addicts and the people who love them. You can connect with others who are working hard to overcome their reliance on marijuana. You also have the option of downloading their app, giving you unlimited and immediate access to help right from your computer or mobile device.
Cocaine Anonymous (CA): If cocaine is the drug causing problems in your life, CA is there to help. On their website, you’ll find information about cocaine addiction itself (what it is and how it came to be an issue), how CA can help in the recovery process, and where you can locate local CA meetings if you feel that support groups are the help you need.
Crystal Meth Anonymous: Just like the other 12-step groups, this one offers the same type of supportive services for individuals who struggle with addiction. The only difference is that this one is for people who abuse crystal meth. Use their site to find the meetings closest to you, enabling you to choose one that best suits your needs.
Nar-Anon: Nar-Anon’s website is a great resource for friends and family members of narcotics addicts. In addition to offering their own 12-step program for loved ones, they also have links to a number of different pieces of literature on narcotics addiction to learn more about it and its effects.
Gambling AddictionGamblers Anonymous: Gambling addiction isn’t talked about as frequently as alcohol or drug addiction, but it’s an addiction nonetheless. Gamblers Anonymous is one viable option for help, because their website contains information about gambling addiction, a questionnaire you can take to determine whether you’re a compulsive gambler, and various meeting locations and gambling resources to aid in your recovery.
Gambling Therapy: This online group is designed to provide email support, access to forums, and connection to online support groups for individuals who are addicted to gambling. Click on the resources tab and you’ll find links to gambling information and groups across the globe who can help.
Pornography/Sex AddictionSex Addicts Anonymous (SAA): SAA is a group for individuals who are addicted to sex (whether diagnosed or not), and they have one goal: to offer “a message of hope to anyone who suffers from sex addiction.” Their website offers information about sex addiction, explains how SAA works, and shares how to locate a meeting near you. You can also download their newsletter, The Outer Circle, directly from their site.
PsychForums' Sexual Addiction Forum: If you’re looking for help for your sex addiction and prefer to use forums, then PsychForums may be the website for you. It hosts thousands of different sex-related topics, enabling you to either search out answers to your questions or to seek help from others by asking some of your own.
Youth Pornography Addiction Center: This organization is dedicated to helping parents who have teens that may be addicted to pornographic materials. From disrupting patterns early to finding effective treatment options, this site strives to make it easier for you to help your child overcome this issue while they’re still young and better able to reverse their problematic behaviors.
Other Addiction ResourcesSmokefree.gov: Nicotine addiction can be just as troublesome as other conditions, especially because it affects your physical health. If you’re interested in learning how to effectively give up your cigarette habit for good, this site is a great online resource. You can find tips for quitting, daily challenges that make it easier to quit, access to a quit plan designed specifically for you, and encouragement and support via text messages sent right to your mobile phone.
SMART Recovery: If you’re not a big fan of the 12-step model, SMART Recovery offers another option through their 4-Point Program. The four points are: building and maintaining motivation; coping with urges; managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and living a balanced life. Also, they aren’t as spirituality based as the 12-step programs, concentrating on self-empowerment instead.
MENTAL HEALTH & ADDICTION COMBINEDSometimes, mental health issues and addiction go hand-in-hand. Either addictive substances are used in an effort to self-medicate, or the use of substances creates mental health concerns. A few organizations exist that are capable of providing information and support for these types of dual diagnosis situations.
Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA): DRA offers help and support for individuals who are dependent on chemicals and have some type of mental illness. They do this via a 12-step program focused on “relapse prevention and actively improving the quality of our lives.” On their site, you’ll find information about dual recovery itself, meeting formats, and more.
Dual Diagnosis: Whether you’re looking for information or a local support group to join for your two-sided issues, Dual Diagnosis offers both. They also have links to articles, research, and other resources that are relevant to dual diagnosis and recovery.