Grief and loss are a fundamental part of life. Everyone must eventually deal with the loss of a loved one, and grieving after the loss is a healthy and natural process. The pain of loss can feel like it will never go away, especially for the young, but eventually we must all pick up the pieces and move on with our lives. When grief lingers and becomes unhealthy, it can turn into depression.
Major depression is a serious health risk for anyone. It prevents people from functioning in their daily lives and increases the risk of substance abuse and suicide. Depression also responds to treatment – Sovereign Health’s residential treatment center for adolescents aged 12 to 17 in Rancho San Diego provides troubled teens a safe, friendly environment to find new ways to move past their problems and into a happier life.
Grief and Loss
They might not know it by name, but most people are familiar with the Kubler-Ross model of grief. It divides up grief into five specific emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While it makes for a handy way to outline a person’s journey through the process, grief is actually far more complicated.
Every loss is a unique experience, and grief isn’t experienced the same way by everyone. Some teens might respond to the loss of a friend or loved one with the expected tears and sadness; another might laugh and tell jokes as a way of expressing their grief. However disconcerting that might be for the people around them, it’s important for everyone – particularly adults – to realize that there’s no wrong way to grieve.
That said, sometimes the idea of a life without a person – or several persons – can be too much for some to bear. Recently, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, has identified persistent complex bereavement disorder as a condition for further study. The disorder involves the symptoms of grief in children lasting for more than six months.
More dangerously, grief also drives some people to make poor choices. Some people cope by turning to alcohol or other substances for relief – yes, a stiff drink can help a person calm down, but the psychological and physical effects of alcohol are also what make it addictive. Substance abuse is a serious health problem for anyone, but for a teen still in school, it’s even more so. Alcohol can be radically more toxic in a younger body, and depression, grief and alcohol can drive an adolescent into risky, dangerous behavior.