The death of a loved one, by any circumstances, is a traumatic and painful experience. With alcoholism and drug use, many friends and family may begin to question themselves and what they could have done to prevent the situation or what they did that contributed negatively to it. For those with mental illness and/or current substance abuse issues, losing a loved one could also exacerbate symptoms and worsen an individual’s current state if therapy is not sought to help them cope. In psychology, there are 5 main stages of grief (developed by Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler) that people often experience in losing a loved one:
- Denial – life makes no sense, everything is overwhelming, and denial and shock are used to help a person cope and survive the situation
- Anger – as reality sets in, a person becomes easily angered by what has happened
- Bargaining – to bring the loved one back, a person may attempt to “bargain” with a Higher Power or other spiritual source, promising to do whatever it takes to reverse the situation
- Depression – as it becomes clearer that the circumstance cannot be undone, depression sinks in and a person may feel completely saddened, exhausted, and hopeless
- Acceptance – over time, the person comes to terms with the reality of the situation. This doesn’t not mean they are happy with the outcome, but they accept what has happened and eventually take steps towards moving forward with their life
A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry conducted structured interviews with 27,534 adults in the U.S. general population who had experienced the death of a loved one and found that during the grieving period, individuals were more likely to develop psychiatric disorders such as manic episodes, phobias, alcohol use disorders, and generalized anxiety disorders. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, no matter their circumstance, it’s incredibly important to take care of your mental and physical health. Self-medicating through use of substances can cause you to develop an addiction and coping in other unhealthy ways could lead to the development of a mental illness.
If you’ve been struggling with a substance use disorder or a mental illness, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to begin taking steps towards living a happier, healthier life.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.