Bereavement & Grief

Bereavement & Grief

 

Bereavement is the feeling of loss experienced when one loses a loved one. This can include a close friend or a family member.

 

Grieving is a normal reaction to an extreme stress. Grief results from loss and this can also include loss of a romantic relationship, loss of a friendship or even loss of a pet. Grief is often accompanied by disbelief or denial in the early stages. This can give way to anger that the loved one has left you alone. You can experience guilt that you should have done more for them when they were alive or present. Constant feelings of sadness can be overwhelming and can be accompanied by anxiety.

If the bereaved has had a complex relationship with the loved one they have lost, or if the death was sudden (suicide or accident), then the grief reaction can be severe and help may be required. Prolonged or severe grief reactions also benefit from treatment. It is not uncommon for bereavement to lead to an episode of clinical depression.

Prolonged or complicated grief needs help. The following signs and symptoms, especially if prolonged, may suggest that you need help to get through this very difficult time.

Irritability, restlessness & anxiety

Numbness and inability to feel emotions

Anger

Feelings of guilt

Experiencing hallucinations of the loved one

Sadness which does not get better in a few weeks

Feeling of being alone; detachment; social isolation

Withdrawal from the usual activities of life, including employment & recreation

Tiredness

Psychotherapy can be very beneficial. There are different types of psychotherapy that can help. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance Therapy and Supportive Psychotherapy. In situations where the grief is complicated, the psychiatrist may need to be involved and you may need medication to help you through this difficult time. Any episode of depression would need treatment.

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