5 Unhealthy Ways We Deal With Grief

Confused man

Everyone experiences sadness and loss at some point.

Each of us will experience the loss of a beloved companion animal, dear friend, or close family member.

Despite the fact that it is a part of life and to be expected, it is never easy.

The sadness can gradually feel overwhelming, and without grief support, anyone can easily fall into unhealthy coping mechanisms.

An example of one of the unhealthy ways we deal with grief is by living in denial.

While the stage of denial is common during the grieving process, it typically doesn't last long.

It's a strategy for postponing the devastating feelings that come with a loss.

Isolation and withdrawal are other examples of unhealthy ways we deal with grief.

Grieving people may choose to isolate themselves from others to cope with how they feel.

In some other instances, they stop taking care of themselves.

Self-care neglect is one of the popular unhealthy ways we deal with grief.

They become so immersed in their grief that every other thing besides their grief doesn't matter to them, including their health and well-being.

Learn more details about unhealthy ways we deal with grief here. 

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Continued Denial of the Loss

Though it's common to experience some degree of denial early on in the grieving process, this stage typically passes quickly.

Denial of the loss is one of the ways we deal with grief.

It is people's way of putting off the devastating feelings of loss for as long as possible.

When someone is in denial, it's not only because they refuse to accept the reality of their loss and insist their loved one is still alive.

Usually, they're just in such a state of shock and numbness that they're unable to feel anything.

Anyone's health and happiness, as well as their ability to move on in life, may be jeopardized if they maintain this state of isolation.

It is important to allow ourselves time to grieve so that we can adjust to life without the person we have lost on all levels (mental, emotional, and physical).

The feelings of loss and sadness are painful, but they are essential to moving on.

Social Isolation and Withdrawal

When upset, many people have a tendency to withdraw.

Since it can be difficult for those in mourning to seek solace in the company of others, they may withdraw from those who would otherwise offer comfort and support.

More often than not, those closest to the tragedy often end up bearing the weight of everyone's sorrow.

They may find themselves devoting their energy to comforting others instead of healing.

This eventually affects the grieving process, and they don't get to move on.

Most times, it may be because the griever has retreated into solitude to wallow in their anguish.

It is important to note that being alone can have a negative effect on mental health.

Isolation can exacerbate your grief.

Spending time with those who mean a lot to you can speed up the healing process.

Substance Abuse

At various points, it's normal to feel completely engulfed by sorrow.

Because of the intensity of the sensation, it may be tempting to seek relief through distraction or medication.

Substance abuse and alcohol consumption are sometimes chosen coping mechanisms for those experiencing loss.

Sometimes people who are grieving turn to hard illegal drugs, but others succumb to the allure of over-the-counter sleep aids so they can get to sleep more quickly at night.

But dependence, addiction, and other negative outcomes may result from such behavior.

Most people can safely enjoy a drink here and there without any negative consequences.

However, if you've lost someone close to you and found yourself drinking more or more frequently to dull the pain, it's important to recognize this problem.

Understand that it is a maladaptive coping mechanism and get some help developing more positive coping strategies.

Also, the risk to your physical health increases as your use of substances to dull the pain increases.

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Doing Things to Excess

Every aspect of our lives calls for equilibrium, even if that equilibrium isn't always a perfect 50/50 split.

Not too much, not too little; that's the sweet spot for most things in life.

Self-care and decompression entail various practices; the most important part is allowing yourself to enjoy and indulge in something without judging yourself.

Self-care isn't just about giving yourself free rein all the time, but striking a healthy balance is essential.

Seeking some kind of equilibrium, however slight, throughout our grief journeys is crucial.

Grief can consume you to the point where you feel like you need to fill the void with anything, including material possessions.

Finding equilibrium in the early stages of grieving can be challenging.

The right grief support can serve as a check on your behavior.

Self-Care Neglect

When someone close to them has recently passed away, no one really focuses on themselves.

People have a tendency to put taking care of themselves last on their list of priorities and to forget that self-care is important during every stage and event in life.

The roller coaster that is life is filled with highs and lows, joys and sorrows, and successes and failures.

Self-care is a way to stay centered and stable in recovery as well as in all aspects of life. It is important to practice self-care no matter what comes your way.

Maintaining one's health and wellness requires maintaining proper hygiene as well as eating, sleeping, and health in general.

Neglecting self-care can grow and develop into serious help issues or complications. 


Surviving intense emotions of grief requires practice, patience, and grief support.

Having the appropriate support can assist you in comprehending the grieving process as well as overcoming challenges and factors that can trigger grief.

You may discover a resilient way of coping and the confidence that you are capable of overcoming your loss as a result of this.

Some unhealthy ways to deal with grief include continued denial of the loss, social isolation and withdrawal, substance abuse, doing things to excess, and self-care neglect.


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July 13th, 2024

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