Grief And Loss In Addiction
The sadness that accompanies grief and loss can cause you to seek relief from unhealthy habits. You’re not paying attention to caring for yourself. Losing a loved one or dealing with traumatic events that cause a great deal of grief can have a negative and lasting impact on mental health. Significant loss can often result in addiction as individuals find themselves trying to mask or avoid negative emotions associated with bereavement using drugs or alcohol. However, these difficult times can be dealt with when you incorporate grief and loss in addiction recovery.
How Grief And Loss Affect Us
Everyone experiences loss at some point. Whenever it happens, it can be a challenge. Grief affects people in different ways, and it’s more likely that waves of emotion will alternate through the five stages of grief as you try to process what has happened.
For example, you might experience significant sadness one day, followed by guilt the next, anger the following week, and then go right back to sadness and shock.
For some people, the symptoms might not be recognized as grief-related but instead as minor changes to mood or behavior. This can lead to an addiction and the need for treatment that tackles both grief and addiction simultaneously.
Symptoms of Grief
Grief and loss can cause symptoms that look different from one person to the next. There’s no right or wrong way to experience grief. The loss of a home, loss of a job, loss of a relationship, or even loss of a loved one can all cause significant grief and symptoms like:
- Initial shock or numbness, where you feel like you are in a daze
- Overwhelming sadness where you constantly cry
- Exhaustion and tiredness all the time
- Anger for the reason behind your loss or toward the person you lost
- Guilt about not being able to stop the loss or perhaps about something you did or did not say to your loved ones
You might not feel all of these, and some of them might be overwhelmingly powerful, while others are barely recognizable.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to recognize when your grief is the cause of changes to your behavior or your mood, so many people avoid getting the help they need to process their grief, and instead, they struggle with things like sleep and irritability and turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication.
Grief and Loss in Addiction Recovery
When dealing with grief, people might struggle with addiction and not know that grief is behind that struggle. But with the right type of addiction recovery plan, clients can learn the best way to improve their mental well-being and process that grief in a healthy fashion.
Tips for Processing Grief and Loss
Grief in addiction treatment can be improved with several activities and coping skills. For example:
- Addiction recovery can teach you how to set small targets that are easily achievable rather than trying to push through or avoid the symptoms of grief by doing everything at once
- Addiction recovery can help you focus your energy on self-care, knowing what things you can and cannot control and, therefore, what things you should or should not worry about
- Addiction recovery can help you recognize that you are not alone, that there is support out there, and you don’t need to use drugs or alcohol to cope
Tackling Grief in Addiction Treatment
Healing Pines Recovery provides clients with a chance to deal with grief in recovery. Grief, loss, and other traumatic events can lead to addiction, with individuals never taking the time to fully process the impact the grief has had on addiction or how avoiding that grief has led to things like relapse.
Overall, grief affects all of us, and it can have a lasting impact on mental health. Whether you have lost a loved one, moved away from friends and family, dealt with the death of a pet, or anything in between, it’s important that you process your grief in a healthy fashion instead of turning to drugs and alcohol. If you have an addiction, the right treatment can help you process your grief in recovery while also getting through detox and the rest of your drug or alcohol recovery program.