Grief is the emotional reaction to a traumatic event, specifically to trauma, loss, or death. People experience grief in different ways and at different paces. Grief can be expressed spiritually, socially, physically, emotionally, creatively, or even through avoidance techniques, which may lead to negative coping skills and developments of addictions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, grief occurring after the loss of a loved one is normal. However, grief that lasts for an extended period or is remarkably severe may require treatment, and may even lead to the development of an addiction to cope with the loss. Therefore, grief and addiction are closely related, as grief often causes a person to turn to substance abuse for relief, worsening substance abuse, and fueling an addiction. Conversely, addiction may cause the loss of a loved one, which can cause or worsen grief as well.

The Expressions of Grief

Experiencing grief differs from person to person, but can be expressed by the following:

  • Crying
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Avoidance
  • Sleep problems
  • Denial
  • Distraction
  • Guilt
  • Binge eating or drinking
  • Suicidal Ideation

Emotions such as guilt can lead to harmful habits for the loved one, as they may turn to substances to cope with these feelings. Maintaining healthy relationships and strong support systems are imperative to endure the emotional trauma of grief.

The Parallels Between Grief and Addiction

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, many parallels exist between the experiences that people have in their attachments to loved ones and the experiences that people have in their attachments to addiction to drugs or alcohol. Personal attachments and drug addiction share many qualities, including how they grow and decline within each individual. Addiction recovery is a type of grief, in which the person is grieving the loss of the addiction to reach recovery. Therefore, the grief of the loss of a loved one mirrors the grief that occurs when someone enters an addiction recovery program. They are having to let go of something they have grown extremely attached to, leading to a sense of loss.

Need Help?

Losing someone you love is one of the most painful things a person can experience in life. Grief can cause even the strongest of people to succumb to alcohol and drugs to cope. However, using drugs or alcohol only leads to further negative emotions that make it harder to navigate through grief. At Fort Worth Recovery, we understand that recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a personal and challenging experience. We seek to inspire clients to face their challenges, accept their present state, and foster hope for their future.

If you or someone you know is struggling with dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol following a loss, call us today at 844.332.1807, or visit us online.


Get Help Today!

You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

Verify Your Insurance

If you’re covered by any major insurance provider, your treatment will most likely be covered. We guarantee to keep your personal details private.

Share this article:

Related Article

  • Person with high-functioning autism talking to a loved one at a cafe
    ABA Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Mental Health

    Signs of High-Functioning Autism

    Autism is a disorder that affects the way the brain […]

  • Group of people participating in a 12-step program for alcohol
    12-Step Program, Alcoholism, Recovery

    Do I Need 12-Step Program for Alcohol?

    While watching movies or television, especially during the past decade, […]

  • Man at work with a headache suffering from post-acute withdrawal syndrome
    Detox, Recovery, Withdrawal

    What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

    Recovery involves detoxing from drug and alcohol use, which may […]