Grief and PTSD - Topic Overview
Grief is a natural reaction to loss. Whether you lose
a beloved person, animal, place, object, or valued way of life (such as your
job, marriage, or good health), you will probably experience some grief. It's
often worse when the loss is traumatic, sudden, or unexpected, because there is
little or no chance to prepare for it or say good-bye.
If you have
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and have
recently lost a loved one, you may have symptoms for a longer time than if you
hadn't lost a loved one.1
What causes grief?
Events that can cause grief
- Death of a loved one.
- Divorce or
the end of an important relationship.
- Loss of your job or
- Severe illness or a physical
- Loss of a pet.
- Moving to another
- Traumatic experiences, such as seeing combat, sexual assault,
or living through a natural disaster, such as an earthquake.
How do people grieve?
Everyone grieves in a
different way. There is no normal and expected period of time for grieving. It can take much longer when the death or loss is traumatic or
unexpected. How long you grieve can depend on how much the loss meant to you
and how prepared you were for the loss.
You may experience:
- Physical reactions, including being short of
breath, being very tired, and feeling restless.
reactions, including shock, fear, anxiety, guilt, and anger.
reactions, including avoiding other people
and overreacting to others.
- Spiritual reactions, including
wondering why pain and suffering exist and why the loss happened to you.
You also may be confused and have a hard time making
decisions. You may blame yourself or others for the loss.
What can you do?
During the grieving process, you
- Take care of your health.
others help you.
- Exercise to release stress.
- Join a
- Talk to a friend.
- Remember the loved
- Express how you feel.
Don't give yourself a timetable for getting over it. You
may need to talk to a counselor or other professional.
information, see the topics
Grief and Grieving and
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.