Many people will grieve at some point in their lives; however complicated grief describes extreme, unhealthy grieving. Complicated grief is a condition where an individual is unable to move past the grieving stage and continues to experience intense feelings of loss and pain. Though it is not known what exactly causes complicated grief, it is widely believed to be a result of genetics and/or environment.
Symptoms of Complicated Grief
Those who are grieving will typically move through stages that eventually allow them to move past the period of upset. Those with complicated grief cannot make this progression. Some of the most common symptoms of complicated grief include the following:
- Intense focus on the issue that is causing grief (usually loss)
- Inability to accept loss
- Feelings of numbness
- Detachment issues
- Development of bitterness, anger, depression, or sadness
- Inability to function on a regular basis
- Ceasing social activities
- Experiencing hopelessness
These symptoms are often present in most people who are grieving, however the key to identifying if an individual is having normal grief symptoms or complicated grief symptoms comes from how long his grief lasts. Should these symptoms last more than a few months, they could be dealing with complicated grief.
Addiction and Complicated Grief
Since complicated grief can be so invasive in an individual’s life, it can cause him to experience symptoms that turn him onto substance abuse. Some of the many reasons addiction results from complicated grief include:
- Depression – Most individuals experience feelings of depression during their grief that cause them to abuse drugs and/or alcohol to lift their spirits.
- Anxiety – It is possible that complicated grief can cause individuals to feel as though they are at risk of experiencing loss again and again. This anxiety makes it easy to turn to drugs or alcohol to wash away those anxieties.
In addition, individuals might also abuse drugs and alcohol because they feel as though they have nothing left to live for, especially after experiencing loss.
Treatment for Complicated Grief
There are not many medications that are used to help treat complicated grief, however psychotherapy is the most viable option for care. Through psychotherapy, individuals can work through their grief and all the emotions that come with it in ways that allow them to cope without using drugs or alcohol. Doing this can relieve them of their grieving, and help them move forward with acceptance of their loss.
Do You Need Treatment for Complicated Grief?
Call our toll-free, 24-hour helpline right now. Do not waste one more day living with complicated grief or substance abuse. Call us today to get the help that you deserve.