Coping with loss due to Opioids




Coping with loss due to Opioids

The opioid epidemic that continues to ravage communities across the US has taken many lives, leaving family members and friends of those with substance use disorder in its wake. As cities and towns from coast to coast reel amid yet another recent spike of overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, many feel lost, not knowing how to cope with the loss of a loved one due to addiction.


Coming to grips with an overdose death can be difficult and fill those affected with a multitude of feelings ranging from anger to grief and even guilt. Unfortunately, no guide can instantly fix the struggles that families go through, but there are some steps they can take to help them get through the life-altering experience and trauma.


Processing the Stages of Grief

When a sudden overdose death occurs, people can often feel like they need to remain strong for the rest of the family or group, causing them to suppress emotions that allow the grieving process to transpire towards healing. Even though the stages of grief can be challenging, they’re essential for moving forward and maintaining self-care. Some simple ways to get through this time include:

  • Keeping a journal to write out thoughts and feelings

  • Collecting mementos of the passed loved one to keep

  • Focusing on personal wellbeing

  • Speaking with a grief therapist


Feeling Emotions

There is no time limit or expected time frame for grief to pass. Some people may go through the process faster than others, while some may struggle with mood swings, frustration, anger, spite, and blame for months and even years. People shouldn’t compare how their grief process is going in relation to others, nor should they attempt to speed it up or slow it down because they feel pressured by their family members or peers. There will be days when the grief feels less intense and days when it comes back full force, and eventually, those feelings will diminish over time. If someone struggles with the process and it becomes debilitating or life-consuming, speaking to a grief counselor is highly recommended.


Reaching out for Help

It’s not unusual for people to withdraw from social interaction and their usual hobbies after a sudden and tragic death. In addition, the mourning period they go through can cause them to sleep more, spend extended time alone, and cancel upcoming plans and events. Those who find themselves in a position for a prolonged period may need extra help from a therapist or counselor to ensure their personal mental and physical health is being tended to while also working out their grieving process.


The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Recovery Services of New Mexico is prepared to help those seeking to treat their opioid use disorder using evidence-based and effective medication-assisted treatment. Our experienced medical providers work with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on their specific needs, increasing their chances of reaching long-lasting recovery. Give us a call today to set up an appointment or for more information about our services.