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Coping with Survivor’s Guilt After a Drug-Related Overdose

Currently, drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control, and even surpasses all other causes of death for ages 18 to 45. When someone loses a friend or family member to a drug overdose they may experience a variety of emotions, from sadness, shock and pain, to guilt, depression, and anxiety. If the person lost is someone we love, we often feel a survivor’s guilt, as if we should have been able to do something to prevent that person from overdosing. For those who have survived an overdose themselves, or those who may have been using drugs with the individual at that traumatic moment, there can be some additional guilty feelings involved. Aspire Counseling Services provides some tips for helping individuals to overcome survivor’s guilt.

Common Symptoms of Survivor’s Guilt

  • Obsessive thoughts of individual and the traumatic event
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches, stomach aches, heart palpitations
  • Feelings of disconnect, numbness, helplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fearful feelings

Tips for Coping with Survivor’s Guilt

Take time to acknowledge your feelings

Everyone deals with loss in their own way and time. However, it is important not to isolate yourself or withdraw from others, this will only create further challenges to coping with your grief. Realize that the feelings of guilt you may be experiencing are normal but try to remind yourself that while you are human and may have made mistakes, you could not control the actions of another individual. Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself time to heal.

Seek support

Reach out to your family and friends for support. Share your feelings with them. Reach out for professional support. Aspire Counseling Services can provide counseling to help you learn how to healthily cope with your feelings of survivor’s guilt. They also provide group counseling, which allows you to talk with others who have experienced similar loss and understand what you are experiencing.

Embrace life

Remind yourself that you have been given the gift of life and allow yourself to feel happy about living. Find others that you can help; being of service can help to give you purpose and focus. Don’t feel that you must hide your grief from others. Keep a healthy routine, eat, sleep, and exercise to live healthy, this can help you to deal with your emotions better.

Many people feel overdose is stigmatized, but remember, it is the leading cause of death right now for young adults, which means many people will be able to relate to what you are experiencing. Aspire Counseling Services can help you to cope with your survivor’s guilt and loss of a loved one. Contact them today for individual counseling or group meetings that can help you to process your feelings.

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