Grief Awareness Day Helps People Coping with a Loss

Grief Awareness Day Helps People Who Have Suffered a Loss

August 30th is designated as Grief Awareness Day – a day dedicated to helping others learn how to cope with grief after a significant loss. 

Sorrow and grief can take on many forms and can be the result of different types of losses. It can be anything from the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a breakup, loss of a home, losing a friend and everything in between.

Anyone who has experienced a loss has probably heard about the five stages of grief. In order to effectively cope with a devastating loss, it’s important to go through all five stages. By sharing the information about Grief Awareness Day, you can help others who are struggling with a significant loss.

The Five Stages of Grief

The first stage of grief is denial. This is the stage when people can’t come to grips with the reality of their loss. They may say things like, “I don’t believe it.” There are truly no words for them to express how they feel. Once reality sets in however, the grieving person moves on to the next stage – anger. During this stage, the person is more likely to get angry or lash out at those around them for no obvious reason. It’s important to not take this anger personal, it is a normal part of the process.

The third stage is bargaining. This is evidenced when the grieving person makes statements like, “what if” or “if only”. They are trying to reason or negotiate their way out of the pain by stating how things could have been different.

The fourth, and most delicate stage is depression. At this point, the person accepts the reality of the loss and signs of depression become more obvious. It’s important to support someone in this stage of grief. Depending on their history of mental health, some people may be prone to longer and more severe bouts of depression.

The fifth and final stage of grief is acceptance. At this stage, the person is no longer looking back, but moving on and concentrating on the future. While no one forgets a loss, they are able to accept it and move forward.

The thing about the five stages is that they are not experienced the same way from one person to the next. Each person has different ways of grieving and coping with a loss. They can move from stage to stage or bounce between them, often experiencing a particular stage of grief more than once. There is no set timeline or time frame for how long someone should grieve for, and each loss impacts each person in a different way.

Depression is a very common and serious mental disorder that affects millions of Americans every year. In fact, mental disorders are extremely common among Americans. Approximately 43.6 million adults in the United Stated—18 percent—had some type of mental illness in the past year, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Based on results from the 2014 NSDUH, 6.6% of adults and 11.4% of teens aged 12-17 suffered from a major depressive episode (MDE) in 2014. The data also showed that young females were three times as likely as young males to experience a MDE.

Depression causes severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, including sleeping, eating, and working. Depression is diagnosed in people who suffer from these symptoms for at least two weeks.

If someone you love has experienced a loss, and has been showing some of the following signs and symptoms daily for two weeks or more, they may be suffering from depression:

  • Constantly feeling sad, anxious, or empty
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Irritability
  • Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
  • Losing of interest or pleasure activities or hobbies they once enjoyed
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Restlessness, trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changed on appetite or in weight
  • Thoughts of suicide or death or suicide attempts
  • Experiencing aches and pains, headaches, cramping, and problems with digestion

Not everyone who is depressed experiences all of these symptoms. Some only a experience a few, while others may experience many of them.

Depression and Addiction

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the country, and it’s sometimes accompanied by other disorders, particularly substance abuse and addiction. According to SAMHSA, 7.9 million Americans had both a mental disorder and substance use disorder in the past year.

Co-occurring mental and substance use disorders require specialized dual diagnosis treatment, and can be caused by a combination of biological, genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Depression and addiction can occur at any age, to any person, regardless of background, gender, social status, etc. The severity of these disorders also varies on a case by case basis.

Depressive disorders are the second most common type of mental disorder, and people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol also commonly suffer from other mental disorders. In some cases the addiction may lead to depression, and in other cases, substance abuse begins as a form of self-medication to avoid the feelings brought on by depression. In any case, both disorders fuel each other, making the symptoms of both much worse over time.

Treatment and Therapies

In order to effectively treat addiction and depression, dual diagnosis treatment is necessary. This type of treatment is both integrative and comprehensive, and is designed to address multiple disorders at once. Simply using psychotherapy or detox to focus on treating one disorder at a time does not work.

A combination of medications and psychotherapy are typically used in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. It’s important to note that no two people are affected the same way by depression and addiction, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment model. You must find a treatment center that specializes in the treatment of these conditions and that customizes programs to fit each patient’s individual needs.

If someone you love suffers from depression, speak to them about Grief Awareness Day, and if they are dealing with a substance abuse disorder, get them the help they need by contacting Get Treatment at 855-638-9268.

Erica Loret de Mola

Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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