Share this article
facebook icon email icon sms icon copy icon

What is Complicated Grief?

Losing someone is incredibly difficult for anyone involved, but when does normal grief become something more concerning? Complicated grief is a type of grief that can become all-consuming, and may even prevent someone from resuming their daily life. This article will explore complicated grief in more depth, including symptoms, treatment options, and how it differs from normal grief.

What is complicated grief disorder?

Complicated grief (also referred to as complicated grief syndrome or complicated grief disorder) is a type of extreme or prolonged grief reaction. It’s characterized by intense longing for the deceased, preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased, and difficulty managing the loss. Complicated grief can lead to feeling numb and disconnected from others, as well as feeling like you’re in a state of shock. By definition, complicated grief differs from normal grief in that it lasts for six months or more while significantly interfering with a person’s ability to function.

Complicated grief is often worsened by other mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Complicated grief is sometimes referred to as “persistent complex bereavement disorder.”

It’s important to note that complicated grief is different from normal grief in both intensity and duration. Everyone grieves differently, and there is no “right” way to grieve. However, if your grief is preventing you from living your life and you’ve been struggling for six months or more, it may be time to seek professional help.

Normal grief vs. complicated grief

Normal grief has expected symptoms and has a level of intensity that doesn't prevent you from living your life. When grieving, you may have feelings of shock, denial, pain, yearning, and numbness.

With complicated grief, however, you may find yourself stuck in the pain and yearning stage. You may have trouble accepting the loss, and feel like you can’t resume your own life. You may also find that your preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased interferes with work, school, or your relationships.

It’s normal to have good days and bad days when grieving. However, with complicated grief, you may find that your bad days far outnumber your good days. You may also find that your grief is so intense that it feels impossible to cope.

Complicated grief symptoms

Symptoms of complicated grief can vary from individual to individual, but there are consistent signs that it may be time to seek professional help. Here are some examples:

  • Intense yearning for the deceased
  • Difficulty focusing on anything but the death of your loved one
  • Bitterness about the death
  • Feeling like you can't trust anyone
  • Feeling like you can't remember any positive moments with the deceased
  • Extreme focus on or avoidance of any reminders of the deceased
  • Feeling like you wish you had died instead
  • Feeling like your life is no longer worth living

If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help.

Connect with others

Complicated grief treatment

There are a few different treatment options available for complicated grief, including: - Complicated grief therapy: This type of therapy is specifically designed to help people who are struggling with complicated grief. It usually involves weekly sessions with a therapist, and may last for 12 weeks or more. - Antidepressants: These can be helpful in treating the depression that often accompanies complicated grief. - Anti-anxiety medication: These can be helpful in treating the anxiety that often accompanies complicated grief.

If you’re struggling with complicated grief, it’s important to seek professional help. There are a variety of resources available to help you through this difficult time. Whether you manage your complicated grief through therapy or medication (or both), there is hope for a better tomorrow.

If you are worried about yourself or a loved one potentially harming themselves, be sure to reach out to local authorities or 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a 24/7, free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in the United States. If you’re struggling with complicated grief, they can provide support and resources to help you through this difficult time.

To connect with others who are experiencing a loss and may be a source of support and comfort for you during such a difficult time, consider reading through Ever Loved's grief center or joining a community.

Connect with others

Want to see more articles like this?
Like us on Facebook:
Last updated November 2, 2022
Rate this article
Average rating: N/A (0 votes)
You've already voted on this article.
There was an error. Please try again.
You're voting too often. Please try again later.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.