One of the most difficult, stressful and emotionally painful things that an individual goes through in their lifetime is the loss of a loved one. Loss includes the death of a spouse, close family member, pet and friends. There are many different types of losses which include the loss of a home, job, friendship, relationship, health, trust, safe childhood etc.
Everyone in their lifetime experiences many forms of loss. The grief that comes with any loss is destressing and is experienced differently by everyone. Some people may experience depression, go numb and feel detached, unable to access their emotional experience, go to an extreme and make changes to their lives in order to feel alive and living, while some will turn to substance use to cope with the pain which can result in the development of addiction.
Depending on the relationship, circumstances and past life events people get through intense grief quickly and others could take years. Typically grief for everyone comes and goes throughout our lifetime as loss is a natural part of life. Anytime we experience a loss it will triggers the emotional memory of all the other losses we have previously experienced. There are five stages to grief. They are Shock & Disbelief, Fear, Sadness, Anger, Guilt & Sickness. These five stages happen interchangeably over time.
If grief lasts for an extended period of time due to complicated loss, traumatic history etc it can take a toll on the psyche and leave an individual vulnerable to the development of mental health issues. As a result there is a high risk of individuals using substances to cope with the despair and loss in an attempt to dull out the pain and feel some sense of normalcy and happiness.