Losing a loved one is one of the most distressing and emotional experiences people face. But because death is such a common life experience, virtually everyone deals with grief at some point. Despite the emotional difficulty, most people experiencing grief and bereavement endure periods of sorrow, numbness, guilt, anger and profound internal disorganization.For some people, though, this normal grief reaction becomes much more complicated, painful and debilitating, or what's known as complicated grief. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble accepting the death and resuming your own life.We pay more attention to complicated grief because of the serious toll it can exact - possibly leading to prolonged depression and thoughts of suicide. There are even treatments that may help people with complicated grief come to terms with their loss and reclaim a sense of joy and peace.Complicated grief symptoms differ from those of normal grief or other bereavement reactions. During the first few months after a loss, many signs and symptoms of normal grief are the same as those of complicated grief. However, while normal grief symptoms gradually start to fade, those of complicated grief get worse or can linger for years. Complicated grief is like being in a chronic, heightened state of mourning.
When you read the symptoms below, remember they are a guideline because everyone grieves differently. However, if you see yourself and your experience in these symptoms and you are two years out from your loss, please contact us. There is help and support for you, as you continue to live with your loss.Signs and symptoms of complicated grief can include:
• Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one• Intense longing or pining for the deceased• Problems accepting the death• Numbness or detachment• Preoccupation with your sorrow• Bitterness about your loss• Inability to enjoy life• Depression or deep sadness• Difficulty moving on with life• Trouble carrying out normal routines• Withdrawing from social activities• Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose• Irritability or agitation• Lack of trust in others
Adapted from an article from the Mayo ClinicResources are researched, assembled and provided by Lifebanc for personal use only.