Open Accessibility Menu
Stages of Grief and Substance Abuse

Stages of Grief and Substance Abuse

Silver Ridge

Grief is an emotional state of intense sorrow. It is brought on by a sense of loss. The most intense grief is usually associated with the death of a loved one, but people can also experience grief following the breakup of a marriage, the loss of a job or for many other reasons.

The Stages of Grief

The intensity of feelings experienced when grieving can vary between individuals, but most people will go through somewhat predictable stages during the grieving process. Elizabeth Kübler Ross identified five distinct stages that people who experience grief usually go through.1

These stages of grief are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Depression and Addiction

It is the fourth stage, depression, that most concerns people dealing who are experiencing a substance use disorder. Depression is an illness that affects the way people perceive the world and their place in it. It is often characterized by feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness.2

People who are suffering from depression are often unaware that they have an illness. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them feel better. The problem is that any relief provided by drugs or alcohol soon wears off, often leaving different problems in its wake. Many people will then use more drugs or alcohol to keep their depression symptoms at bay, and some will go on to develop an addiction.

Healthy Ways to Manage Grief

managing grief as a familyGrief can cause many unpleasant emotions, and you may struggle to cope with them. It is important to know that grief may lead to being depressed. If you are grieving and feel the urge to turn to alcohol or drugs, you should consider grief counseling.

Many people find it difficult to release the emotions they feel when they are grieving, even with people to whom they are very close. Just being able to talk about how you feel can make a big difference. Counselors will encourage people to open up and to avoid suppressing deep emotions.

You should know that you are not alone in experiencing strange or uncomfortable feelings. A certified grief counselor can help you to work through your emotions in a healthy way. It is likely that other close family members are experiencing emotions similar to yours. You might consider participating in group counseling, which will provide each person with the opportunity to address their grief.

Dealing with grief takes time, and you must not expect the feelings of distress to disappear quickly. Avoid the temptation to use substances to suppress your emotions. The type of grief that is caused by personal loss can last for many years. You must accept that you will have uncomfortable feelings, but strive to channel them in a way that allows you to carry on functioning in your daily life.

Everyone experiences grief differently, but it often involves isolation. If you can, make yourself get out of the house and spend time with other people, rather than isolating yourself. Physical exercise also helps to ward off negative thoughts and emotions, so staying active can also benefit your well-being.



Focus, Healing, and Recovery

Life at Silver Ridge is purposely designed to provide the safest and most restorative healing environment on the East Coast. If you would like to learn more about Silver Ridge or begin addiction treatment today, please call (855) 945-7788 or fill out the form and one of our admissions staff will be in touch with you soon.

  • Please enter your First Name.
  • Please enter your Last Name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Sivermist
    Sivermist Sivermist

    Offering luxury residential treatment at a private residence in rural southwestern Pennsylvania.

  • REAL Recovery
    REAL Recovery REAL Recovery

    Providing high-quality, adventure-based and personalized care with four sober homes for men ages 18-28 in Asheville, North Carolina.

  • High Focus Centers
    High Focus Centers High Focus Centers

    The premier provider of structured outpatient behavioral health and addiction treatment programs in New Jersey.

  • Rehab After Work
    Rehab After Work Rehab After Work

    The leading provider of outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs in Pennsylvania.

  • Pyramid Healthcare Inc
    Pyramid Healthcare Inc Pyramid Healthcare Inc

    A premier provider of behavioral healthcare founded in 1999 offering a full continuum of recovery services for adults and teens at 24 locations in PA.

  • The light program
    The light program The light program

    Treating individuals in crisis or struggling to function through mental health Intensive Outpatient programs at locations in southeastern Pennsylvania.

  • Seeds of hope
    Seeds of hope Seeds of hope

    Providing specialized Intensive Outpatient eating disorder treatment for teens and adults in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

  • Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP
    Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP

    Providing comprehensive Employee Assistance Program services to employers nationwide.

  • Mazzitti & Sullivan
    Mazzitti & Sullivan Mazzitti & Sullivan

    Providing behavioral health services in central Pennsylvania since 1983, now operating five different locations.

  • Tapestry
    Tapestry Tapestry

    Tapestry Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

  • Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare
    Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare

    Serving the Atlanta, Georgia area adolescents and adults suffering from Mood Disorders.

  • October Road Inc
    October Road Inc October Road Inc

    Serving the Asheville, North Carolina area with high-quality mental health and substance abuse treatment since 2006.

  • Walden
    Walden Walden

    Offering treatment & support options in Southern Maryland for those struggling with addiction and mental health.