The death of a beloved person can be a very distressing experience, and understanding how to cope with grief in general can be helpful regardless of the circumstances of the person’s death.
There are some common factors that distinguish the experience of grief after a death from substance use (accidental overdose, or other accident, suicide, homicide, or medical complication) from other kinds of grief. (In Part 1 & Part 2 of an article on this topic, read comments from others who have experienced this kind of loss.)
- Learn more about the pain of grief and the emotions of grief.
- Death from substance use can cause those left behind to struggle with three key questions that can affect their grief:
- One of the most difficult aspects of this experience of grief is how stigma over drug use and addiction harms and isolates bereaved people.
- To deal with the effects of trauma, consider engaging in self-help activities such as those recommended by Riverside Trauma Center and the National Center for PTSD.
- Practice self-compassion.
- If the person was suffering from an addiction disorder, the family likely experienced difficulties because of it — so considering how to grieve as a family can be important.