Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss Counseling

Experiencing grief & loss can create some of the most emotionally distressing feelings one can have and unfortunately is an unavoidable part of life. Whether loss occurs as part of maturation, a child struggling with time away from attachment figures as they transition into school, or extreme loss that may come with an unexpected death of a love one, grieving becomes a recurrent part of life. The intensity and extent of loss experienced is highly individualized and varies between people as it is based upon an infinite number of factors. Given the significance and continual presence of loss the importance of well developed coping skills becomes essential.

“Consider the end of a relationship, job loss, missing out on an opportunity, or disappointment of any kind and how it influences each one of us differently” states Dr. Gerald Grosso, Clinical Director at Nsight Psychology and Addiction. There are those who can move forward appearing relatively undisturbed while others may experience extreme anxiety, depression, helplessness, and hopelessness. Trouble managing loss and moving through the grieving process can contribute to the development of maladaptive coping skills often associated with addiction. It may present in chemical dependency, alcoholism, or in behaviorally in gambling, sex, video games, and sometimes work addiction. The degree of dysfunction becomes evident in the gradual withdrawal from relationships and avoidance of the emotional issues that are causing the distress. The more engaged one becomes in the addiction the more harmful it becomes. Most often the loss experienced is the core issue and transcends into another problem which is the addiction. Without well developed coping skills problems increase over time and the management of future losses becomes more difficult.

Individuals seeking treatment of alcohol and drug addiction frequently report a history of trauma and loss reporting the use of substance to cope with stressors. Dr. Grosso advises patience with a love one who is struggling with addiction, “No one wakes up in the morning and states today I’d like to be addict.” Removing one’s primary coping skill (addiction) and replacing it with skills that are healthy takes persistence as the addict begins to experience the unpleasant emotions that they have avoided while trying to utilize alternative coping skills that are just being learned. Treatment focused on the problem not just the symptom is essential, as it is difficult to remove the cause if the emphasis is only on the effect. Steps to maintain sobriety are critical when it comes to addiction. Additional focus on working through grief and loss along with the development of healthy coping skills will enable one to effectively manage life experiences in a productive and beneficial manner.

Reach out to mental health and addiction professionals who understand the connection between grief, loss, and addiction. Perseverance in sobriety provides the opportunity for emotional clarity and can lead to growth and confidence to handle stressors and live a productive and happy life.

Dr. Grosso serves as Clinical Director for NSIGHT Psychology and Addiction in Newport Beach California.

NSIGHT Psychology and Addiction is an emotionally focused treatment program that emphasizes the underlying mental health and emotional issues that precede and reinforce addiction in order to create lasting change.