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Grief and Grieving - When to Call a Doctor

If you or someone you know develops complications of grief, such as disturbing or suicidal thoughts, depression, or anxiety, get help.

Call 911 or other emergency services if:

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  • You think you cannot stop yourself from harming or killing yourself.
  • You hear voices that frighten you, especially if the voices tell you to hurt yourself or other people.
  • Someone who is grieving tries to harm himself or herself or someone else.
  • Someone who is grieving threatens to hurt someone else or makes threats of suicide.

Call a doctor if:

  • You feel hopeless and detached for more than a couple of weeks.
  • You cannot stop yourself from thinking about death or suicide.
  • You have a sudden change in your behavior that concerns you, such as drinking more alcohol than you normally do.
  • You have been grieving longer than you think is good for you.
  • Someone you know has symptoms of depression. These symptoms include feeling sad and hopeless or losing interest in most daily activities.

Who to see

Counseling is best done by a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling, such as a:

Health professionals who can help you if you are having medical or mental health problems requiring medicine include:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 17, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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