Thrive Psychology

Grief & Loss

What is grief/loss?

Grief and loss is experienced following the loss of a person through death, though sufferers may experience it following a life threatening illness. Grief can be experience in one of three ways; natural, uncomplicated or complicated. Grief becomes complicated when people fail to adjust well to a loss, and why there is no right way to grieve, certain symptoms may suggest they are not coping well.

What causes grief or loss?

Everyone experiences grief and loss at some point in their lives, though how they deal with it may vary depending on the circumstances at the time, as well as any past experience of loss.

Who is most susceptible?

For individuals whose grief becomes complicated, certain behaviours may indicate that they are not coping well, and therefore their grieving process may be prolonged. Pushing away thoughts or feelings about their loved one, refusing to attend the funeral, avoidant behaviour, substance abuse or neglecting self-care may all indicate this.

How common is experiencing grief or loss?

At some point in their lives, everyone will experience grief or loss.

What are the signs or symptoms of someone struggling with grief or loss?

Symptoms of depression and anxiety including sad mood, loss of appetite and poor sleep are often involved with both complicated and uncomplicated grief. A sense of numbness and disconnection from others, difficulty believing that the loss is real, and guilt or worry about interactions with the loved one prior to their death are also all very real signs of people dealing with grief or loss.

Things to look out for if you think someone is experiencing grief or loss?

It is important to remember that every single person deals with grief and loss in their own individual way, as the experience is unique to them. However, if the individual continues to display depressive or anxious symptoms for an extended period of time, they may be having trouble coping with the loss, and observation of the above signs may also indicate adjustment difficulties.

How can a sufferer get treatment for grief or loss?

To deal with the depression, anxiety or insomnia symptoms that come with grief and loss medication may be prescribed. In addition, psychotherapy may be used to assist individuals work through the grief process in a health way, addressing secondary difficulties that may have arisen following the onset of grief. Support groups also offer a safe and useful environment for dealing with grief and loss.

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