How to Cope with a Lack of Closure

How to Cope with a Lack of Closure

Closure means emotional clarity after a life-changing event, like a breakup, death or job change

A need for closure refers to an individual’s desire for emotional clarity, particularly after a life-changing event, like a breakup, a death in the family or a job change. This need varies in strength from person to person, and it can affect how people act and think. Individuals with a high need for closure prefer simple, quick answers; they tend to form beliefs more rapidly and firmly, and they often experience higher levels of depression and anxiety (“Delusions and Decision-Making Style: Use of the Need for Closure Scale,” Behaviour Research and Therapy, August 2006). This puts individuals who need closure at a high risk for addiction, as compulsiveness, depression and anxiety all contribute to substance abuse. A lack of closure jeopardizes people’s mental and physical health if they do not know how to cope.

The lack of closure may come from needing an answer that involves personal blame or agency. People must learn how to take responsibility for their actions if they are to find closure or to manage the lack thereof. Individuals struggling with addiction may experience a lack of closure if they are in denial about how they have encouraged addiction. However, addiction cannot be blamed on the user alone, as it is influenced by many internal and external factors. Individual users do play primary roles in how addiction forms and how recovery can occur, so denying that power will only leave more questions unanswered.

Finding closure means first defining what questions remain unanswered. Individuals may feel a general need for answers without knowing what in life remains ambiguous. Feelings of anger or guilt are common when there is a lack of closure, as individuals may be angry about what someone else has done, or guilty about what they have done themselves. These feelings may occur even if people are unaware of how different actions spurred these emotions, but people can find closure by exploring their experiences, determining which ones spur negative emotions and learning how to come to terms with painful memories. These steps will also protect against or end substance abuse, as feelings of anger and guilt commonly encourage addiction, even as addiction reinforces these emotions, changes thoughts and causes more situations that cause further anger and guilt. Hiding emotions behind substance abuse or other unhealthy coping mechanisms does not heal these emotions. Closure comes from addressing the past and present while focusing on the future.

If you want to find closure and move into a positive, healthy, drug-free life, then call us today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day at our toll-free helpline to help you find the integrated treatment resources you need to recover. Do not let the past hold you back, and do not let unhealthy coping mechanisms, like substance abuse, keep you trapped in a cycle of negative thought. All phone services are free, so there is no reason to delay reaching out for help.