When we grieve the loss of a loved one our hearts are torn open, our lives turn upside down and inside out, and time can seem to stand still, while we try to find ways to make sense of the loss. We cry, we eat more or less, we can’t sleep or we can't stop sleeping, we long for our loved ones and wonder how we will live without them. These are all normal aspects of grief. But they are painful, so we may seek counseling to cope with our pain and loss, even though grief is not a mental disorder. In time, with or without the help of a counselor, the painful and debilitating acute symptoms of grief largely resolve and we are able to get on with our lives.
However, for some people, acute grief stays acute and becomes chronic and debilitating and may even worsen over time, rather than getting better. This is called complicated grief (CG). Pre-existing mental health conditions, multiple stressors, emotional dependency, or substance abuse issues complicate the grieving process and increase the likelihood of a complicated bereavement disorder that may necessitate professional treatment.
Approximately 10 to 20% of bereaved persons experience a complicated grieving process that may require treatment that includes prescription medication and counseling. A history of clinical depression and anxiety, emotionally dependent relationship on the deceased, and alcohol and drug addiction may make you more likely to experience complicated grief..
During the first few months after a loss, many signs and symptoms of acute grief are the same as those of complicated grief, although for the latter, they linger and worsen. Complicated grief is a chronic, heightened state of mourning. Its symptoms can include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to reach out for some help to get through this. Treatment for complicated grief can include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, specialized Complicated Grief Treatment and often a combination of these modalities.
Call for more information: 516-847-5886.