Bereavement and grief aren’t light-hearted topics. Bereavement refers to the process of recovering from the death of a loved one, and grief is a reaction for any form of loss. Both encompass a wide range of emotions such as fear, anger and deep, deep sadness.
The process of adapting to a loss can dramatically change from person to person, depending on his or her background, beliefs, relationship to the person who’s passed, and other factors such as coping with post suicide loss, homicide or drug overdose.
Prolonged grief disorder was recently added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a volume published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that defines and classifies mental disorders. It can happen when someone close to the bereaved person has died within at least 6 months for children and adolescents, or within at least 12 months for adults.
Some of the symptoms of prolonged grief disorder are:
- Identity disruption (e.g., feeling as though part of oneself has died).
- Marked sense of disbelief about the death.
- Avoidance of reminders that the person is dead.
- Intense emotional pain (e.g., anger, bitterness, sorrow) related to the death.
- Difficulty with reintegration (e.g., problems engaging with friends, pursuing interests, planning for the future).
- Emotional numbness.
- Feeling that life is meaningless.
- Intense loneliness (i.e., feeling alone or detached from others).
Every grieving experience is different. A person may be able to continue their day-to-day routine after one loss, yet not be able to get out of bed after the loss of someone else. Whatever your personal symptoms are, prolonged grief therapy has been proven to help.
If you are experiencing grief-related thoughts, behaviors, or feelings that are distressing, please contact me today for a free consultation.