Grief & Loss
What is grief?
After a loss of a loved one many people experience grief, which is a reaction to the loss. The processing of adapting to the loss is very different for each person based on their background, beliefs and relationship to what was lost.
During grieving people can have sadness, guilty, anger and regret. These degree to which these emotions are felt can vary in range. Not everyone expresses grief the same way. Some people are quiet about their feelings while others are expressive. If people are quiet about the loss, it does not mean they are not experiencing the grief from the loss
What are the ways that people grieve loss?
There are two main healthy styles of grieving which are instrumental and intuitive
In instrumental grieving people focus on problem solving tasks. People with instrumental grieving minimize their emotional expression. The other way of grieving is intuitive grieving which involves sharing feeling, exploring lost relationships and reflecting on mortality. There is not best style for grieving.
There are also stages of grief that people go through during a loss which include
While traditionally people move from one stage of grief to another, people can sometimes revert back to another stage of grief or do the stages of grief out of order(e.g depression before anger).
How long does it take to recover?
Everyone has their own timeline for recovery. Some people feel better in 6 months and some people feel better in a year. However, if the loss is severe the pain can come on in “waves” for years. Just because people are able to find temporary happiness in recreation, self-care and social support doesn’t mean that they have recovered from the grief. Adjusting to the grief requires developing new patterns in life, rethinking future plans and developing a new sense of identity, which can all take time.
How do I know if mental health help is needed?
When grief becomes clinical depression, it is time to get help. Clinical depression results when there is a sense of hopelessness, despair and lack of joy. People can also have low appetite, difficulty sleeping and may feel life is not worth living. Untreated clinical depression can have serious consequences on health, occupation and other people that depend on the person that is depressed.
If depression after a loss is not adequately treated, it can result in substance use for adolescent and adults. Additionally, after the loss of a child there can be conflict among parents and which can result in divorce. Children can have marked fall in their grades after the death of a parent and their academics can suffer. There can also be frequent worries that bad things can happen to other family members resulting in anxiety and panic attacks.
What are the treatment options after a loss?
Dr Memon will help customize a treatment plan for each individual that is being treated for loss. It is generally a combination of medications and talk therapy that works best for the treatment of depression. Patients may have to be on a class of medications called SSRI to help with the process of coping with the loss for 6 months to a year. Additionally, patients will require a specific type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) to help with the depression. The goal of the medication treatment is to decrease the pain of the loss. The goal of the cognitive behavioral therapy to help the patient develop new patterns in life, rethink future plans and developing a new sense of identity. The therapy can be challenging for people to do and the medication is also helpful for patients to move past the paralyzing pain and be able to have those conversations needed to create the change.
For navigating through your loss make an appointment contact us at 609-601-4161