Coping with Grief After Drug Overdose Deaths | WRRC

Coping with Grief After Drug Overdose Deaths

It’s entirely unfortunate, but due to the prevailing opioid epidemic, thousands of families lose loved ones to drug overdose deaths every year. It’s unlikely that you haven’t known someone who died of an overdose in your lifetime. Even more unlikely that you have never heard of someone losing a loved one in this way. With all this death, there is surely grave amounts of grief. But how do family members and loved ones move on from this grief and work toward healing themselves? In this article, we discuss ways family can address the death of their loved one so they can establish their own recovery journeys.

Letting Yourself Grieve After Drug Overdose Deaths

When people lose someone they love, often times, they may feel like they have to stay strong for those around them. However, bottling up emotions only makes things worse in the long run. What you don’t process now, you will inevitably process later in ways you may not expect or even find like yourself. So, don’t try to fight the grief. Experience the emotions so you can gain eventual healing.

Coping with Grief After Drug Overdose DeathsUnfortunately, sometimes this is easier said than done. But there are some ways you can practice letting yourself grieve including:

  • Keeping a journal to allow yourself to realize and verify your emotions.
  • Viewing memorabilia of your loved one including pictures, notes, and other mementos.
  • Making sure to practice self-care by keeping good hygiene, eating, and setting a structured sleep schedule.
  • Getting help from a therapist in your area.

While you are letting yourself grieve, remember that you may not be entirely in control of your emotions. So, you can experience mood swings that include anger, frustration, spite, and blame. While you may look back and feel shame for experiencing these emotions, don’t. They are a part of the grieving process, and no one should feel shame for what they need to experience to move forward in this process.

Give Yourself Time to Experience the Grieving Process

Grief doesn’t have a time limit. Sadly, you may never stop grieving for your loved one. But, with time, this grief does feel lighter. You simply have to allow yourself the time to grieve. Everyone may grieve differently, and everyone may grieve for different times. However, don’t compare your grief timeline with someone else’s. And don’t try to speed your grief up. Some days it will be heavier than others. But, one day, you’ll notice that it’s not nearly as heavy as it once was.

Reach out for Support

One of the worst things you can do after experiencing drug overdose deaths is to avoid social interaction. Although you may not want to see anyone or go anywhere, it’s vital to your healing. Plus, while you may not realize it now, there are people who love you and need to know that you are working toward your own healing. So, don’t seclude yourself for your own desires. Instead, surround yourself with people who are grieving with you and understand the weight of your loss. This can help a great deal in building support that you’ll inevitably need throughout the grieving process.

Consider Family Therapy After Drug Overdose Deaths

One way you can address grief and the loss of your loved one is by getting professional help for your entire family. Death can affect a family in the worst of ways; tearing them apart and ruining relationships. But, with proper help, family members can learn to set boundaries, how to communicate effectively, and other necessary skills to use during the grieving process.

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Here at Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, we offer family therapy opportunities for families who have struggled or are currently struggling with drug addiction. To learn more about how we help families cope with addiction and drug overdose deaths, contact us today.