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Losing Someone to Addiction

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Losing someone to addiction is devastating. It is also usually preventable. Many people who struggle with addiction also suffer with other aspects of mental health – often called co-occurring disorders. Usually, addiction is a symptom rather than a root cause. In other words, understanding and diagnosing any co-occurring disorders has a significant impact on the effectiveness of addiction treatment. In many cases, simply having access to the proper mental health treatment can make all the difference in a person’s ability to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, consider seeking dual diagnosis treatment

At Clear Behavioral Health, we specialize in dual diagnosis addiction treatment. We understand the complexity of addiction and mental health, and our dedicated staff works tirelessly to facilitate recovery with comprehensive care. To find out more, contact us at 877.799.1985

Grieving the Loss of an Addicted Loved One

Grief is a dynamic process, and it takes time and perseverance to heal from loss. Grief can be an especially difficult process to cope with when one experiences the loss of a loved one via addiction. Everyone grieves differently, but the phases of grief are consistent. If you’ve lost a loved one to addiction, you can expect to move through and between denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

  • In the denial phase, we struggle to accept the loss. It does not feel real. This phase can include feelings of numbness, shock, and emotional anesthesia. 
  • It’s normal for people to feel angry once the shock of receiving news of a loved one’s death from addiction. The anger may be directed at any number of things or people. This anger originates with the very human impulse to search for a reason why things happen and to rationalize it. 
  • During the bargaining phase, we wish the whole situation would disappear. We feel as though we might do anything to get relief from the pain of loss that we’re experiencing. 
  • Depression during grief is also normal and may be experienced as fogginess, excessive fatigue, or emptiness. During the depression phase, it’s normal to feel like everyday activities require superhuman effort. It may be difficult to sleep or to get out of bed. It can include mood swings, irritability, and deep sadness without the ability to cry it out. 
  • Beyond depression is acceptance. This doesn’t mean we’re suddenly OK with losing our loved one. Instead, it’s a recognition of the new reality. Acceptance is about making peace with loss.

The phases of grief are not linear, and a person may move between and through them several times. It can take months or years to move through all of the phases. Patience, self-compassion, a robust support system, and perseverance are key.

How to Cope with Losing Someone to Addiction

Coping with the loss of a loved one from addiction can be especially painful because it is often an unexpected loss and one that does not provide easy closure. Some effective coping strategies include:

  • Establishing a strong support network
  • Allow time for grief to run its course
  • Practice radical self-compassion and give yourself grace
  • Acknowledge and accept complicated feelings rather than burying or ignoring them
  • Know that you could not have prevented this outcome
  • Take inventory of your life
  • Find things to be grateful for daily, employ a gratitude list
  • Find motivation where you can
  • Make a bucket list
  • Take a vacation or do something kind for yourself
  • Accept the generosity and support of others

For Support in Coping with the Loss of a Loved One, Contact Clear Behavioral Health Today

At Clear Behavioral Health, we understand how traumatic it is to lose a loved one to addiction. We offer a variety of support and resources for people dealing with the grief of this type of loss. From addiction recovery to grief support, we can help. Contact us today at 877.799.1985.

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