Any discussion of relationships between and among grief, loss, and substance abuse must first begin with an overview of loss and the resulting grief. While grief is most commonly defined as an emotional response to loss, there are more wide-reaching consequences in one's life. Beyond emotional responses, there are social, physical, psychological, cognitive, and spiritual dimensions to consider. Significant loss affects holistic health, including the ability to manage emotions, to function within the social environment, to make sound decisions, and to engage spiritually to uncover or find meaning in precipitating loss.

Many discussions of grief, loss, and substance abuse take place within the context of death. Although death may be the most commonly referenced event leading one to grief, most people's lives are affected by ...

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