Complicated grief occurs when the painful emotions last for a long time and when you have trouble accepting the loss and and moving forward with your own life. What can be confusing at times is that the symptoms suffered by the person with complicated grief are similar to those that occur in the normal grieving process. The difference lies in the timeline. If several months after your loss, you are still experiencing a number of the symptoms like what’s listed below, you may be suffering from complicated grief:
- Intense sorrow or pain at the thought of your loved one
- Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
- Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
- Intense and persistent longing for the deceased
- Problems accepting the death
- Numbness or detachment with aspects of your life
- Bitterness about your loss
- Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
- Irritability or agitation
- Lack of trust in others
- Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one
Getting help with your Grief
Getting treatment for complicated grief is important, not only to help you obtain a better quality of life, but also because unchecked grief can lead to increased anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and other very serious complications.
The type of therapy used to address complicated grief borrows from a variety of psychotherapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Exploring ways to process your loss, address the symptoms that have continued through the grieving process and re-establishing other close relationships all may play a role in your recovery. Just the act of talking through your loss, your memories of your loved one and your feelings in bereavement may start you down the road to resuming your life. Our counselors at LifeLens Psychological and Counseling Services are ready to help.
Working with you to identify an effective approach to therapy is what we do best at LifeLens