Grief and Substance Abuse

Posted by Luis Espinoza for Boca Recovery Center on Jan 17th 2023

Grief and substance abuse are both common problems in the United States. They have many similar symptoms, but they come from different causes. Grief is usually caused by a loss of something or someone that has been important to you. Substance abuse is usually caused by either a desire to feel better or escape pain.

This section will talk about the treatments for each of these problems and how they differ from one another. It will also discuss various medications that can be used for treatment, as well as their side effects and long-term effects on the body.

Grief is a natural reaction to the loss of someone or something. It is a process that people go through when they are grieving. The grieving process includes a wide range of emotions such as anger, denial, and depression. Grief can also be caused by substance abuse or addiction or be the start of the substance abuse.

Treatment for grief and substance abuse is not just about medications, but it’s also about helping people get back on their feet and live a healthy life again. This can be done by providing them with support groups, therapy sessions, and other methods of treatment that will help them get over the feelings they have been experiencing since the loss.

We are all different and we have different ways of grieving, but sometimes grief can be overwhelming. When grief becomes overwhelming and causes a person to act out in self-destructive ways or become completely numb, it's time to seek professional help.

There are many medications that are used for the treatment of grief. These include antidepressants like SSRIs, anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications), mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines. These medications can help balance the brain chemicals that have been thrown off by a traumatic event.

There is no one specific treatment for grief because everyone is different and has different needs. There are many types of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Grief, Substance abuse, Difficult times & Depression

Unfortunately, many people who are grieving turn to alcohol or other substances, like prescription drugs or illicit drugs. The reasons for this vary, but many times it is an attempt to cope with difficult feelings, thoughts or stress related to the loss. Grief is a very difficult emotion to process, and people often need a lot of support during this time.

Family, friends and other loved ones can provide support and help you get through this challenging time. Grief affects everyone differently, so there is no one way to do things. It is important to take care of yourself and do what works best for you.

If you are grieving, consider asking loved ones if they can help you with things that are difficult to do, like grocery shopping or checking in with work. Or, ask them to just sit and listen to you if that is what you need.

Loss of a loved one

With the death of a loved one comes a wide range of emotional and physical responses. The intensity and duration of these responses will differ from person to person. These responses often include sadness and grief, anger, guilt, anxiety, and/or confusion, health problems, and daily life disruptions.

Some people even experience personality changes. Grief that is significant, lasting and/or recurrent can be classified as complicated grief (CGD), which is a type of acute bereavement that can result in long-term mental health issues. The following feelings are normal in the process of grieving, but if they last too long or get too intense, it is important to seek support and help.

Many widows and widowers describe losing a "half" of themselves after a spouse dies. A factor is the manner in which the spouse died. The survivor of a spouse who died of an illness experiences a different loss than the survivor of a spouse who died by an act of violence. Often, the spouse who is "left behind" may suffer from depression and loneliness, and may feel it necessary to seek professional help in dealing with their new life.

Chronic grief

Chronic grief is when grief symptoms last longer than six months. It is when people feel a “constant presence of grief” and they experience symptoms like sadness, longing, and yearning; anger; nightmares; lack of motivation; and difficulty enjoying daily activities.

Grief is a normal and healthy response to loss and can be a “normal reaction to an abnormal situation,” meaning that it is expected after experiencing a significant loss. While everyone’s experience and journey with grief will be different, there are common stages that people go through when grieving. These stages include (but are not limited to) denial, anger, bargaining (trying to negotiate the situation), depression, and acceptance.

We are here for you

Grief is a complicated process, and it is important to seek support and help if you need it. If you are grieving the death of a loved one, know that you are not alone and that you have the right to take as much time as you need to heal. There are many ways to cope with grief, and it is important to remember that you do not have to go through this alone, Boca Recovery Center offers grief therapy and substance abuse programs tailored to the necessesities for those who are in need of support. With support from family, friends and other loved ones, you will be able to get through this challenging time and be able to move forward.