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Overdose Loss

When a loved one dies from overdose, understanding your feelings and knowing what to say about the death can be especially difficult. Even though addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, there can be a social stigma associated with the loss.

For you, a person who has lost someone special, this can seem doubly unfair. Not only has someone you cared about died, but others may avoid you or make you feel ashamed about the loss. You may have conflicting emotions over your loved one, and be disappointed that they were unable to overcome addiction. You might also feel guilty that you were not able to help the person before it was too late, even though the behavior was outside your control. The often sudden nature of this type of loss can also leave you to feel stunned.

Self-Care while grieving the loss of a loved one to overdose

Take care of your health. Grief can be hard on your physical health. It can help to exercise regularly, eat nutritious food, and try to get enough sleep.
Take time to adjust. Go at a comfortable pace and be easy on yourself. There is no rush.

Know that you are not alone. Millions of families and friends have lost a loved one to overdose. This does not make the death of the unique person you cared about any less tragic. It does mean that there are resources to help you and many people who may be able to understand and support you.

Reach out to others. There are many people in your community who have been impacted by overdose death. Talk openly about what happened, and do not be afraid to talk about your loved one. Your loved one’s life was extremely important, and touched the lives of many.

Rely on your support system. Let family and friends know when you want to talk about your loss. When possible, accept their offers of help and company. Rely on friends and family who listen without judgment.

See your doctor. Keep up with visits to your healthcare provider. Let your healthcare provider know if you are having trouble taking care of your everyday activities, like getting dressed or fixing meals.

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