WHAT IS GRIEF?
For individuals that have experienced a loss or another traumatic event, grief is a natural response. This strong, often overwhelming emotion manifests itself differently from person to person, as grieving is a highly individual process for which there is no “instructions manual.”
Some examples of events that may cause grief include the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a terminal diagnosis, the end of a relationship, or the diagnosis of a disability or chronic illness. Often, grief causes a person to have feelings of deep sadness, numbness, and even isolation from everyday life and relationships.
For many individuals, the grieving process can last for a considerable amount of time. However, situations in which dealing with grief become unbearable, significantly interfering with a person’s ability to conduct their daily activities. Among mental health professionals, these cases are often referred to as “complicated grief.”
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF GRIEF
Because grief is experienced and expressed uniquely by each person, there is not necessarily a comprehensive list of the signs of grief. However, many people experience one or more of the following symptoms when grieving:
- Intense sadness
- Feelings of numbness
- Disinterest in everyday life
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation
- Feelings of denial, anger, or resentment
- Difficulty completing daily tasks, including personal care, work, etc.
- Inability to enjoy former hobbies or daily activities
Grief can also manifest itself in physical symptoms, such as:
- Loss of appetite, nausea
- Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF GRIEF
Grieving is a normal human experience; however, for some people, there is a certain point at which their grief begins to impede their everyday lives severely. Although there are no set rules for how long or how intensely an individual may grieve, many mental health professionals agree that it becomes complicated grief when its persistent and pervasive presence continues to interfere with your life more than a year after the traumatic event.
It is important to understand that much like grief itself, the diagnosis of complicated grief is highly individualized. In some cases, complicated grief and clinical depression occur simultaneously, regardless of the amount of time that has passed.
If you are experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed by grief, including mental and physical symptoms, Elevate Psychiatry can help. Do not feel as if you have to wait until your situation is severe “enough;” reaching out for help can be an extremely effective way to process your grief.
At Elevate Psychiatry, our individualized approach to treating patients suffering from grief may include:
Diagnosis and treatment of concurrent mental health conditions if applicable (such as PTSD, depression, anxiety)