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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:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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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