Drug Addiction and Unresolved Grief
Unresolved grief describes grief that interferes with an individual's daily functioning, and it can last longer that the norm for that individual's social circle and/or culture. Many who suffer from unresolved grief may also develop drug addiction using substance as temporary relief from their grief.
Loss and bereavement are normal parts of the human experience. Being separated from loved ones is both painful and unavoidable.
But grief should pass over time, and broken hearts should heal. If your intense feelings of loss endure, you may have a serious condition called complicated grief that should be addressed. What you should not do is depend on drugs and alcohol to help you feel better—that is counterproductive and dangerous and can easily lead you into substance abuse and addiction.
If unresolved grief and substance use have taken over your life, you shouldn’t despair. In a residential treatment facility that understands cocurrent unresolved grief and addiction treatment, the prognosis is good. At Alta Mira, our addiction and mental health treatment professionals are trained, experienced, compassionate, and fully committed to the health and welfare of our clients. Our treatment programs will help you overcome your personal challenges, regardless of their nature or of how long you’ve been suffering.
We can help you come to terms with your grief and show you how to live without the false comforts of drugs and alcohol.
Co-Occurring Complicated Grief and Substance Abuse
Losing someone you love can send you spiraling into a well of deep suffering and emotional pain. As you move through the stages of grief, however, you should eventually emerge from your sadness and depression and slowly but surely regain your footing.
But sometimes, the path to recovery from extreme or chronic grief is not so smooth. The sense of acute loss does not lift, and it may continue to interfere with your capacity to work, study, or care for yourself and your family. When you reach this stage, you may be suffering from a condition called complicated grief (or complicated bereavement disorder). This is a real mental health disorder that will likely require intensive treatment to overcome.
Unfortunately, many people with unresolved relief seek an escape route through drugs and alcohol. This can quickly lead to chemical dependency, and the combination of complicated grief and addiction can devastate your life if you don’t take action.
Grief and Alcohol Addiction
People sometimes drink to forget. They may turn to alcohol because it might offer what feels like a temporary respite when life becomes stressful, unpleasant, traumatic, or emotionally draining. But frequent alcohol consumption can cause changes in brain activity that create strong cravings for alcohol’s mind-altering effects.
Since complicated grief will not simply disappear on its own, or in response to your drinking, the descent into addiction can be swift. Your desire to escape from your despair is understandable, but alcohol abuse will only make things worse in the long run.
Alcohol addiction and complicated grief are both serious conditions that require intervention. When they occur simultaneously, a luxury alcohol rehab that offers services for each is essential for your future and good health. Neither disorder has to be a permanent state of affairs, if you’re willing to put in the hard work necessary to overcome them.
Grief and Drug Addiction
For people consumed by unresolved grief, at times the situation may seem hopeless. Days and nights are filled with memories that only bring more sadness, and only leave the bereaved feeling more lost and alone than ever.
In these circumstances, it’s not difficult to see why many turn to intoxicating substances. For those desperate to escape from their own thoughts and feelings, stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine can temporarily remove feelings of powerlessness and depression. Some types of prescription drugs can cause feelings of relaxation and warm euphoria, as can cannabis or heroin.
There are many choices for people with unresolved grief who are looking to self-medicate. The lure of illicit, mind-altering substances can be powerful during time of deep crisis. But misusing or abusing drugs to remove your pain will ultimately leave you much worse off than you were before.
As your brain becomes tolerant to your drug of choice, you’ll soon be increasing your consumption until addiction becomes the most likely outcome. And as tolerance develops, you’ll find your grief returning at full force, even as your drug use becomes chronic or compulsive.
To escape from the clutches of addiction and complicated grief, formal treatment in a world-class drug treatment facility often provides the best chance at lasting change.