There is no definite point in time or a list of symptoms that define
grief. The term unresolved grief (sometimes called
prolonged or chronic grief) is grief that lasts longer than usual for a
person’s social circle or cultural background. It may also be used to describe
grief that does not go away or interferes with the person’s ability to take
care of daily responsibilities.
Complicated grief is a period of intense grief and
anxiety that lasts 6 months or more. Complicated grief responds well to counseling. A grief
counselor can help you work through your grief and learn to accept your loss.
I didn’t expect to faint at the sight of my son’s blood. As a mother, my job
is to nurse boo-boos -- and when when my son came to me after smashing his
thumb a few months ago, I prepared to do my best Florence Nightingale. Then I
saw the blood.
The room began to spin. I broke out in a cold sweat. I felt all the color
drain from my face. After yelling upstairs to my husband to take over, I slid
to the kitchen floor.
Psychologists don’t know exactly why up to 15% of us experience the plunge
Experience a loss that others do not recognize as
significant, such as miscarriage, retirement, or losses related to
How people express unresolved grief varies. People may:
Act as though nothing has changed. They may
refuse to talk about the loss.
Become preoccupied with the memory
of the lost object or person. They may not be able to talk or think about
Become overly involved with work or a
Drink more alcohol, smoke more cigarettes, or take
Become overly concerned about their health
in general or about an existing health condition and see a doctor
more often than usual.
Become progressively depressed or isolate
themselves from other people.
In addition to the list above, teens may show unresolved grief by
using illegal drugs, taking part in illegal activities (such as stealing), or
having unprotected sex. They may also become more accident-prone, avoid their
friends, and have difficulty completing school work.
Young children may show unresolved grief by developing behavior
problems or expressing fears about being alone, especially at night.
People with unresolved grief who do not seek treatment are more
likely to develop complications such as depression as a result of