man crying in support group

Grief/Loss Issues

Grief Treatment at Promises

We provide comprehensive treatment for clients struggling with grief and anxiety and other mental health issues or substance abuse problems. We recognize that everyone copes with loss in their own way, and that these issues often contribute to the use of drugs and alcohol or other destructive behaviors as a coping mechanism. Our team works hand in hand with clients to develop a plan that supports them through every step of the recovery process. Clients may engage in a number of therapies to help them process and move through grief such as individual and group therapy, grief and loss counseling, mindfulness and an array of alternative therapies that heal body, mind and spirit.

Grief and loss counseling and support groups help our clients work through unresolved grief from a past loss that continues to cause complications or disruptions in their daily lives. For clients who also have depression, grief and anxiety, PTSD and/or substance abuse, our tailored approach involves treatment to address those issues concurrently.

About Grief

Grief is a normal response to loss due to death, divorce, loss of a job, relocation away from family and friends, loss of health due to illness and other losses. Everyone processes grief differently. Signs of grief include feelings of being empty or numb, as if in shock. People who are grieving may experience trembling, nausea, unprovoked anger, nightmares, dry mouth, trouble eating, inability to sleep, difficulty breathing and muscle weakness.

Grief is often described as emotional reactions that occur in stages, not always in order and, at times, even simultaneously. Common reactions include: denial, disbelief and numbness; anger or blaming others; bargaining; depressed mood, sadness and crying; and acceptance or coming to terms with the loss. Symptoms that last for a while may lead to clinical depression.

During grief and loss counseling, people are typically encouraged to accept that grief lasts as long as it takes to learn to process and live with the profound loss. The acute phase of grief usually lasts up to two months. Some milder symptoms may last a year or longer and it may take a year or longer to overcome.

Grief and loss can affect overall health, leading to depression and alcohol or drug use. Grief that lasts for more than two months and is severe enough to interfere with daily life may be a sign of more complicated grief and a more serious illness, such as major depression. People who are finding that grief is seriously affecting their ability to function in everyday life may consider residential treatment at a grief recovery center or a treatment center for complicated grief.

What Is Grief/Loss?

Grief is the emotional reaction to a physical loss. It is often described as heartache and sorrow following the loss of a person, pet, place or situation that is a valued part of a person’s life. Anticipatory grief is grief experienced prior to an actual loss. An example of anticipatory grief is worry and anxiety over a loved one who is dying from a terminal illness.

Grieving, also called bereavement, is the process of adjusting to situations in life following a loss. There is no “normal” or expected time for grieving. Some people will be able to return to normal functioning within weeks or months. Others, particularly those who experienced a loss that was traumatic and unexpected or whose daily life has been radically changed, may take a year or longer to fully adjust.

While grief is humans’ natural response to loss, such feelings may be totally unexpected. Some of the losses that may result in grief include:

  • The death of a loved one
  • A miscarriage or stillbirth (direct, for the mother, indirect, for the spouse/family)
  • The birth of a child with a birth defect
  • Infertility diagnosis
  • Being diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness
  • Suffering a disability from a severe illness or accident
  • Loss of independence after an accident or serious illness
  • Loss of a job
  • Moving from a familiar home
  • A natural disaster or act of violence
  • Learning that a child has developed a learning disability, behavioral problem or is abusing substances

Grief can also result from loss that is related to major life changes, most of which are seemingly positive and normal. These include:

  • Getting married – loss of independent decision making, for some
  • Birth of a child – loss of independence
  • Retirement – loss of income, daily social contact, work-related identity
  • Aging – loss of physical strength, changes in appearance, diminished energy and/or mental functioning
  • Moving out of the house – loss of dependence on parents
  • Starting school – loss of the comfort of familiar surroundings at home with the family

Grief can also occur on the anniversaries of a major loss.

Symptoms of Grief/Loss

Every person experiences grief and loss in unique ways. How a person reacts to grief may depend on the relationship he or she had with the person, object or situation that was lost as well as the individual’s personality, life experiences and overall ability to cope.

Symptoms of grief may include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue and/or weakness
  • Feeling detached from others
  • Feelings of heaviness
  • Frustration
  • Guilt
  • Headaches
  • Isolation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Questioning the reason for the loss, the purpose of pain and suffering, and/or the purpose of life and death
  • Stress-related ailments
  • Worry

Prolonged and serious symptoms can also occur from grief, including severe anxiety, depression, physical illness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal thoughts and actions.

Problems may result from unresolved grief or complications associated with grieving, especially if someone has:

  • Had several major losses in a short period of time
  • Lost a person very important to them
  • Experienced the unexpected or violent death of a child caused by an accident, homicide or suicide
  • Had to return to work too soon after a death
  • Had permanent losses caused by chronic illness
  • Had a history of anxiety or depression

Get Help. Find Hope.

When someone close to you dies, or you lose your job, suffer from chronic or terminal illness, experience a violent act or go through a natural disaster, you don’t just snap back with no ill effects. Even if you are a physically and emotionally healthy person, any loss of a significant nature, or too many losses in a short period of time, results in some form of grief. To learn more about grief and loss counseling and treatment for co-occurring disorders at Promises, call: 844-876-5568

To learn more about Grief/Loss Issues, call 844-876-5568

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