grief loss coping tips
September 08, 2023 By Leah Malone

Managing Grief and Loss in Recovery


Stability and consistency are vital for women in early recovery. Grief and loss complicate recovery by worsening mental health symptoms and adding new challenges to everyday life. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “People with substance use disorder (SUD) are more vulnerable to complicated grieving symptoms following loss.” Emerge Recovery TX uses evidence-based methods and alternative holistic therapies to help women in recovery find positive ways to manage grief and loss

How Do Grief and Loss Affect Recovery?

Grief takes energy and time to process. Women in recovery may experience significant side effects of grief, including additional symptoms of SUD or co-occurring mental health disorders. The symptoms of grief itself are often difficult to cope with for individuals in early recovery. 

Grief and loss significantly affect people by doing the following: 

  • Making it more challenging to feel motivated and focus on recovery goals 
  • Reducing the effectiveness of self-help groups and group therapy  
  • Increasing symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Lowering a person’s stress threshold and making it more difficult to function 

Emerge Recovery TX helps women come to terms with their grief and find healthy ways to process loss. The type of loss determines what treatment will be most effective. Social support, individual psychotherapy, and alternative holistic therapies provide relief for people experiencing grief. 

Recognizing the Signs of Grief and Loss

The effects of grief and loss look different for everyone. However, some of the more common signs include:

  • Unusual change in appetite, including overeating or sudden loss of appetite 
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, disrupted sleep, or oversleeping
  • Socially withdrawing from peers, friends, and family 
  • Irrational anger or irritation 
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Depressive episodes or symptoms of depression
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • An inability to feel engaged in everyday activities and emotional numbness 

According to Psychosomatic Medicine, “Symptoms are divided into separation distress, including persistent yearning and pre-occupation with the loss, and traumatic distress . . . difficulties accepting the death, feeling one has lost a part of one’s self, anger about the loss, guilt, or difficulty in engaging with social or other activities.” Some women may be unable to function until the trauma of grief is treated with psychotherapy and other therapeutic tools. 

Living With Grief and Loss During Treatment

According to The BMJ, “After a major loss, such as the death of a spouse or child, up to a third of the people most directly affected will suffer detrimental effects on their physical or mental health, or both.” The research goes on to state, “Despite this there is also evidence that losses can foster maturity and personal growth. Losses are not necessarily harmful.” Women in recovery find healthy ways to cope with grief by sharing their experiences with their support system and relying on their care team.

Learning to live with grief and loss takes time. The compassionate care team at Emerge Recovery TX helps women in treatment receive the level of support they need to heal and move forward in their lives. Case managers help clients connect with outside resources, including legal assistance and grief support groups. Clinicians collaborate with clients to establish goals and motivate them through their pain. 

How to Mourn Without Increasing Your Risk of Relapse

Mourning is a healthy part of grieving. Some people may continue to feel weighed down by their loss until they have an opportunity to mourn. Clients in recovery go through the mourning process without increasing their risk of relapse by doing the following:

  • Being honest with their support system about how they feel
  • Sharing their feelings and experiences with peers and supportive family members
  • Allowing themselves to process the pain and move forward without holding onto it

Some people may fear letting go of their grief out of misplaced guilt. Therapy and other forms of treatment help women learn to embrace change and accept loss in a healthy way. 

Common Forms of Loss

Loss takes many forms. Everyone responds differently to emotional distress. The types of loss and how they affect recovery vary considerably depending on various factors. Some women may feel devastated and overwhelmed, while others may have strong enough support systems and coping tools to remain functional while processing their loss. Outpatient treatment programs offer women a safe space to express their grief and find comfort with peers who share similar life experiences.  

Some common forms of loss people experience during treatment include:

  • Job loss 
  • A loved one or friend moving away 
  • Death of a loved one, friend, or colleague
  • Loss of a home 
  • Severe illness or injury of a loved one
  • Romantic breakup

Every loss is significant, and the effects are unique to the individual. Women deserve to feel supported and heard during moments of grief. Emerge Recovery TX personalizes treatment to the needs of each person and provides the services they need to recover from SUD and the effects of grief. 

Many women in recovery from substance misuse have experienced loss. In many cases, the grief was left untreated and added to the symptoms of SUD and co-occurring mental health issues. Treatment programs offer women the support and guidance they need to process their grief fully. Clients and their care teams work together to find healthy ways to address grief-related issues. The clinicians at Emerge Recovery TX provide trauma-informed care to reduce the risk of re-traumatization. Every woman deserves compassionate care and people who empathize with their pain. Outpatient care helps women heal and grow beyond the pain of loss. To learn more about our team and the programs we offer, call us today at (737) 237-9663.

About Author

Leah Malone

Learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings can be painful and disturbing at times. When Leah was able to see her behavior patterns and decided there was enough pain to be disturbed, she became motivated to make changes and accept the work that needed to be done to heal. She needed direction and had no clue how to heal on her own. Through a connection with God, authentic connection with others, honesty, willingness, and humility, Leah is now in recovery from addiction and trauma.

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