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Grief and Depression

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What Can Get in the Way of the Healing Process?

Some things can impede or slow down the healing process following a death or loss. They include:

  • Avoiding emotions
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Minimizing feelings
  • Overworking on the job
  • Misusing drugs, alcohol, or other substances as a way to deal with emotional discomfort

What Things Might Help Resolve Grief?

These tactics can help:

  • Acknowledge and accept both positive and negative feelings.
  • Allow plenty of time to experience thoughts and feelings.
  • Confide in a trusted person about the loss.
  • Express feelings openly or write journal entries about them.
  • Find bereavement groups in which there are other people who've had similar losses.
  • Remember that crying can provide a release.
  • Seek professional help if feelings are overwhelming.

What Can I Do if My Grief Won't Go Away?

If grief continues and causes a prolonged and deep depression with physical symptoms such as poor sleep, loss of appetite, weight loss, and even thoughts of suicide, you may have a condition known as complicated bereavement. Talk with your doctor as soon as possible.

Sometimes, a major depression can develop along with the normal feelings of loss or sadness linked with grief. Whereas normal sadness as part of a grief reaction may subside after several months, major depression is a medical disorder that is different from normal grief, can occur at any time (even in the immediate aftermath of a death of loss), and requires treatment to be resolved.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 18, 2015
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