Grief and Loss
Grief is a feeling of intense sorrow experienced when one loses something or someone precious or one faces a setback in life. The sense of grief felt at such loss is like a mental illness that impairs even basic functioning. Though feeling grief is a normal response of the human brain, different people may react differently to the loss. For most people feeling intense grief, it may take some time to adjust to a new lifestyle without the presence of the thing or person lost. However, one must remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that it may take immense courage and continued support for a person to heal and recover completely.
Causes of Grief
Grief can stem from multiple reasons such as:
- Death of a loved one
- Divorce or a breakup
- Loss of health
- Loss of job
- Financial instability
- Death of a pet
- Death of a close friend
- Loss of friendship
- Loved one’s illness
- Feeling unsafe after a trauma
- Loss of family home
Sometimes, even subtle changes like moving away from home, graduating from college, and changing jobs may also cause grief to an individual.
Symptoms of Grief
Some of the common symptoms of grief include:
- Feeling sad and dejected
- Constantly feeling like crying
- Shock, denial, and numbness
- Confusion, anxiety, stress, and exhaustion
- Feelings of shame, anger, and guilt
- Increased use of alcohol
- Substance abuse
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Stress in relationships
- Not enjoying activities enjoyed previously
- Feeling lonely, isolated, and withdrawn
- Blaming oneself for the loss
Dealing with Grief
While grief takes its own time to resolve, one can take several steps to cope with it. Some of these steps could be:
- Letting yourself grieve – It is important to express feelings as that can help one feel lighter. One can share feelings with a family member, friend, or even a health care professional.
- Taking care of self – Eating healthy, exercising every day, taking adequate sleep, and going out to meet new people are some of the ways in which one can indulge in self-care and work towards feeling better gradually.
- Taking time and postponing major life decisions – It is important to take time to feel normal and get back to life. Also, till the time one feels better and their head clears and they are able to focus better, one should avoid taking major life decisions.
- Saying goodbye to belongings – Sometimes, it is very difficult to overcome grief when one is attached to the belongings of the loved one, who is no longer there. It is thus important to remove their stuff, say a final goodbye, and try to move on.
- Letting people help – Opening up to family, friends, and support groups can really help. Talking in support groups encourages other people to share similar experiences, making one realize that they are not alone and that healing is possible.
- Coping with triggers – One might face some situations or visit some places that might remind them of their loss. It is important to stay strong and calm. Gradually, one will learn how to handle triggers without experiencing the associated grief.
- Seeking professional help – If the symptoms persist and the quality of life starts getting affected, then it is best to get professional support from a mental health treatment center.
When to See a Doctor?
Usually the symptoms of grief reduce over a period of time, however, if one feels depressed for a longer period of time, he or she must see a mental health therapist. If left untreated, grief and loss can cause serious emotional distress, life-threatening illnesses, and even lead to suicide ideation. One should get in touch with a grief counselor if one:
- Feels worthless
- Feels one should have died with the loved one
- Feels that they are responsible for the death or loss
- Feels isolated and disconnected from others
- Faces difficulty in trusting others
- Is unable to perform routine activities and tasks
Treatment for Grief and Loss
Grief is usually treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medicines. Psychotherapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is aimed at helping the patient come to terms with their feelings and expression of those feelings. It also enables a patient to learn coping mechanisms so that they can deal with their feelings in a more efficient manner.
In addition, group therapy sessions might also be conducted so that one gets to interact with people dealing with similar issues. Sharing their coping strategies would encourage the patient to heal and recover. Family therapy sessions can be used to arm the family with some knowledge about grief, how it manifests, in what ways did it affect the family member, the ways to deal with it, and how to support their loved ones during their recovery process.
Medications might also be used for alleviation of symptoms. The most commonly used medicines in such a condition are antidepressants. Usually, medication and psychotherapy are used concurrently for better treatment outcomes.
Treatment of Grief and Loss at Medical Concierge
The mental health treatment center of Medical Concierge offers holistic treatment programs for grief management. We have a team of skilled and compassionate mental health specialists who understand that grief can cause debilitating psychological, as well as, physical health consequences. The specialists provide a range of holistic services comprising meditation, nutrition, yoga, art therapy, and mindfulness techniques which complement the standard treatment procedures used.
The empathetic team at Medical Concierge strives to address all the symptoms of the patient and delve into the underlying causes as well with the help of customized treatment plans. To learn more about the mental health treatment plans and services provided at our behavioral health center, call our 24/7 helpline (877) 636-0042. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.
Medical Concierge offers quality, innovative and compassionate care for mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders. We also offer alumni services and continuing care to ensure sustained recovery.
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656