Grief and Addiction

How Grief can Lead to Substance Abuse

There are many causes of addiction, which can range from genetic risk factors, to people trying to self-medicate. Put simply, many turn to drugs or alcohol to get a feeling, get rid of a feeling, or to have some sort of an escape. We’re all wired to try and cope when we’re in distress, but unfortunately, turning to substances can result in dependency and addiction. One situation that often goes overlooked as a source of someone’s addiction is grief. Losing a loved one can be a sort of traumatic experience, and without the proper coping skills, alcohol and drugs seem like the best option.

The Effects of Grief

From a young age, we learn that death is a part of life, but this reality doesn’t always make things easier. Many times, we lose people in our lives like parents and grandparents due to natural causes and old age, but it’s still an impactful loss regardless of the circumstances. Others lose people unexpectedly. With so much out of our control, we sometimes lose friends and family members who are still in their prime due to tragic accidents or diseases. Worst of all, there are some people who must grieve the loss of a child. 

If you live in New Jersey, you’ve most likely been impacted by grief, and it’s due to the heroin epidemic. In 2019, New Jersey had a record high of drug deaths for the fourth straight year in a row. With thousands of people dying each year due to addiction, many friends, family members, and other loved ones are struck with unexpected grief. Parents lose children, children lose parents, spouses lose their life partner and many others are affected as well. What’s even more disheartening is that the death of someone can lead to a person turning to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope.

Losing a Loved One to Addiction

Most people dying from the disease of addiction are young, which means that many parents are having to bury their children. This is something that no parent should have to go through. There are also thousands of people losing friends to addiction, and sometimes it was a friend that the person actively used with. Due to these circumstances, a person can be overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, and they may abuse drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with this guilt or sadness. Eventually, medicating with drugs and alcohol becomes an addiction, and now your life is at risk as well.

Overcoming Grief and Addiction

In order to overcome grief and addiction, you need to get help. The first step in the process is going to a detox center where you can safely come off of the drugs or alcohol. You’ve probably felt even more guilty about your substance abuse than most because you know that your loved ones are worried sick about you. Getting help at Enlightened Solutions Detox can put your loved ones’ minds at ease as you start on the path to recovery. We also have a clinical team that specializes in grief and loss who can help you process what you’re feeling in a new, healthy way. So, if you’re ready to take back control of your life and honor those you’ve lost by living sober and free, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-233-7336.

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