Sounds of silence. The “special grief” of drug-death bereaved parents: a qualitative study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonTitlestad, K. B., Mellingen, S., Stroebe, M., & Dyregrov, K. (2020). Sounds of silence. The “special grief” of drug-death bereaved parents: A qualitative study. Addiction Research & Theory. 10.1080/16066359.2020.1751827
Background: Drug-death bereavement is an understudied topic. We explore what bereaved parents experience after losing their child to drug use. The aim of the paper is to provide knowledge about what drug-death bereaved parents go through and study the kinds of help and support they receive. Method: Reflexive thematic analysis is used to analyze 14 semi-structured in-depth interviews with Norwegian parents. Results: We generated four main themes: (I) ‘constant preparedness’ describes the burdensome overload that the parents experienced before death; (II) ‘stigmatization’ represents public and self-induced stigma; (III) ‘emotional overload’ refers to the parents’ complex and ambivalent emotions, such as anger, guilt and shock after the loss; and (IV) ‘complex relations’ describes the parents’ relations with public services and their personal social networks. Discussion: We discuss how overload, before and after the loss experience, causes a special grief. How this overload, silence from helpers, self-stigma and complicated interactions with social networks contribute to the grief of these parents is also discussed. Potential implications for policy and practice are subsequently outlined.