Grief is an emotional response to losing someone or something significant in your life. It may also result from unexpected circumstances like car accidents or illnesses.
Grief can often subside over time; however, if your grief has become particularly challenging to bear, consulting a therapist could help immensely. Here are some ways that grief impacts mental health:
Depression is one of the most widespread mental health disorders. Characterized by low mood and reduced pleasure, depression can stem from numerous sources including grief. If you’re grieving a loss in your life, getting help can be vital in healing from it and moving on with life.
Grief is a natural response to death or any traumatic event; for most, this subsides with time; however, for some it can last much longer; this condition is known as complex grief or persistent complex bereavement disorder and it can have detrimental effects on mental health.
Complicated grief symptoms include sadness and loss of interest in daily activities, self-isolation and thoughts of suicide. It is crucial that these symptoms receive professional treatment as they could become worse over time and lead to clinical depression if left unchecked.
After experiencing tragedy, it is natural to experience feelings of depression; however if these symptoms do not improve within several weeks it would be wise to consult a healthcare professional. Depression and grief may often be confused; however there are distinct differences. Grief usually comes in waves including mixed emotions such as sadness and numbness while depression tends to be constant leading to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and suicidal ideation.
Experts often attribute depression to changes in certain chemicals within the brain that may be brought about by various external influences. Depression may also run in families, so if someone in your immediate circle has experienced depression, you are more likely to become depressed yourself.
Grief can be difficult, but it is possible to overcome. Reaching out for support from family and friends as well as trying different coping mechanisms such as taking on new responsibilities such as cooking or housecleaning may help distract from grief; taking on tasks can give a sense of purpose while raising spirits.
Grief can cause emotional and physical strain that can contribute to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, among others. Prolonged feelings of sadness, loss of appetite, pain or stress after loss can sometimes interfere with daily life; in such instances it is wise to seek professional assistance for relief. If you want to know how grief affects appetite, click on the link for more.
Grief can bring on feelings of intense sadness, feelings of emptiness and loneliness, anger, guilt or regret that may come and go or be present at once – typically sorrow is the predominant emotion during bereavement.
Grieving individuals often become consumed with thoughts of those they’ve lost, which may result in maladaptive behaviors that involve over-involvement or excessive avoidance, including daydreaming of deceased, visiting cemeteries frequently, rearranging possessions and other such actions. At times, those experiencing complicated grief can feel pressure to quickly move through their grief; perhaps feeling betrayed by enjoying other parts of life while continuing grieving their loved one’s legacy.
Anxiety manifests itself in various forms, from an increased heart rate and sweating to difficulty concentrating and lack of sleep. Some may also experience physical sensations such as tingling in their extremities or stomachaches; its most prevalent symptoms in grief-induced anxiety include endless worries, an inability to relax properly, fixation on thoughts surrounding safety and death, negative projections into the future and an altered sense of reality.
Grief can often be the precursor of mental health issues; however, this doesn’t have to be the case. When grief remains unresolved over time or interferes with daily functions, this could be an indicator that there’s something else going on that needs addressing. At High Focus Centers we offer compassionate therapy services designed to help individuals work through loss and find healing – call now so we can begin helping you.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
After experiencing severe trauma, it is normal to feel fearful, worried and on edge for days or weeks afterwards. If these feelings do not gradually dissipate after some time has passed, a person could be experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder instead of simply grieving the event itself. People living with PTSD typically avoid thinking about memories related to their traumatizing experience and have difficulty functioning normally in daily life – it is therefore imperative that individuals visit a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment of their PTSD symptoms.
PTSD symptoms typically include experiencing the event again through unwanted and distressing memories, flashbacks and nightmares; as well as avoiding people, places, activities and objects which remind the individual of the trauma; developing negative beliefs about themselves or others as well as becoming overly alert or on edge causing sleeplessness, irritability, concentration issues or feelings of isolation from others.
People living with PTSD also tend to struggle to accept death and loss. They may blame themselves, believing they played some part in causing it. This form of grief differs significantly from grieving for someone who passes due to old age, disease or natural disaster.
Grieving can be an emotional experience that takes time, so it is vitally important that you allow yourself to feel all of the feelings associated with grief – even if they’re painful. Family, friends and support groups can provide essential comfort; those experiencing PTSD may find speaking to an experienced therapist helpful for better understanding their condition and providing comforting understanding advice.
There are various approaches available for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including cognitive restructuring, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), somatic therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and acceptance and refusal therapy. The sooner you initiate a plan of care the greater your chance of leading a healthy and fulfilling life.
People going through the grieving process can sometimes experience anger when feeling overwhelmed. They might become irritable or short-tempered and blame others for events beyond their control such as losing a loved one, their job or relationship or suffering from health conditions that they can no longer control.
Anger can often serve as a mask for other emotions such as fear or sadness, so if you’re having difficulty distinguishing and experiencing these different feelings or finding yourself stuck with one-note reactions to life events, seeking professional assistance from mental health providers may be beneficial.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced her five stages of grief theory in 1969: denial, bargaining, anger and acceptance. Anger can be an unwelcome part of grief if not dealt with effectively – its presence can be caused by negative thoughts, blame shifting or wanting “payback.”
People may become angry for various reasons; anger could stem from life changes or losses, past trauma or abuse or oppression such as racism; it might also stem from difficulties expressing your emotions even as an adult.
Chronic anger is detrimental to both physical and mental wellbeing. It can lead to addictions, rage attacks, self-harm and depression; physical responses include tightening of muscles, increased heartbeat and blood pressure increases. To effectively manage anger it’s essential that we recognize and challenge irrational thought patterns that contribute to it; for example you might notice certain situations, like your child’s messy room or partner being late that makes us angry – these could be addressed through alternative management solutions, like taking actions such as eliminating them from daily routine or eliminating them entirely from our daily lives.
Healthier ways of managing anger include exercise (even walking can help), mindfulness and meditation practices, and finding alternative outlets for aggressive or confrontational feelings such as tearing newspaper, crushing ice cubes over a sink, or punching bags. Speaking with a therapist can also be invaluable when trying to find effective strategies to deal with emotions and reduce anger levels.