How to Find Help Treating a Grief Management Problem
Dealing with death or the physical loss of a loved one can send you or someone you know down a path of devastating grief. Grief can last for shorter periods or turn into a prolonged disorder that could require professional help in understanding the disorder and treating it with a number of options.
Loss isn’t something most people can walk away from without an emotional response. Grief is natural as it’s the emotional reaction you experience when someone or something is taken out of your life. The intensity of the grief felt depends on the significance of the loss. Grief can be caused by many reasons, including:
- Death (either person or pet)
- Loss of a friendship
- A miscarriage
- Loss of a job
Any of these reasons as well as a plethora of others can spark the grieving process. Dealing with grief happens naturally, and no set timeframe exists for the grieving process to be completed. You might grieve for weeks or months before feeling better, while others may take years before the symptoms of grief begin to subside. Most people go through a series of stages during the grieving process. According to the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, grief involves a five stage process, including:
All people who go through grief commonly feel these five stages, but it isn’t required that a person experience all of them to complete the grieving process. Slate Magazine notes most people experiencing grief feel anger, anxiety and depression. Bargaining and acceptance can manifest into other feelings or not be experienced at all.
How to Diagnose a Grief Disorder
Since everyone does experience grief in one form or another, it can be hard to diagnose a prolonged grief disorder. Some medical professionals refer to this as complicated grief. In the journal article, “Grief and Bereavement: What Psychiatrists Need to Know,” approximately 10 percent of those suffering from grief experience prolonged grief. Prolonged grief, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, involves crippling feelings of loss that don’t get better after a reasonable time has passed. Most often, the pain and emotions involved in complicated grief border clinical depression and will need a medical professional to diagnose the disorder.
How to Recognize a Serious Grieving Issue
Grief allows a person to understand the loss of someone or something special, and that sadness never goes away completely, but it does subside so you can resume your daily life. The first step to understanding the difference between the natural grieving process and prolonged grief are the difference in symptoms. The Mayo Clinic states that the symptoms of prolonged grief can include:
- Intensified yearning for the deceased or the person who has left you
- Suspended state of disbelief that the death or separation has occurred
- Creating the idea your loved one is still alive or with you
- Going to familiar places in search of the person
- Feelings that your life is meaningless
- Avoiding places or people that remind you of the person
If you, a friend or a family member is experiencing these symptoms, feel free to call 1-888-997-3147(Who Answers?) to get in touch with a grief counselor today. Nothing is wrong with feeling terrible about a significant loss, but it’s important to seek help to overcome your grief and determine if it’s prolonged grief or another grief disorder.
Steps You Can Take to Help Someone With Grief Issues
Accepting that you are having trouble coping with grief will help you take the right steps toward healing your complicated grief. If someone you care about is struggling with grief, you can take steps to help them. Before talking to a person about their grief, you should purchase educational books on prolonged grief or get in touch with a local therapist to help you help another person in need of emotional support. Many steps can be taken to help yourself or another person suffering from complicated grief, including emotional support, a visit to a grief counselor or medical treatments.
Talking to Someone With Grief Management Problems
If you know someone struggling with a grief management problem, you might feel nervous approaching the person about the possibility of having prolonged grief. However uncomfortable it might be to approach the subject of complicated grief, emotional support is the most important part of treating this debilitating disorder.
When you approach a person suffering from prolonged grief, remember to be attentive and listen without acting as though you’re a medical professional. This can cause the person to close off and fall deeper into his or her own grief. Instead of offering actual advice about getting better, it might be wise to offer educational books, resources and information about support groups that specialize in prolonged grief.
Adolescents and Teens
Young adults and teens are already hard enough to talk to at times, but approaching them about grief can be very difficult. When a teen or young adult suffers from a traumatic loss and experiences prolonged grief, it’s vital to collaborate with medical professionals to create a team that will aid the young person in getting through grief with minimal permanent damage.
Teenagers and young adults can feel invisible or forgotten during a time of grief, especially if the person lost was a parent. This is because much of the attention is placed on the spouse suffering the loss of his or her spouse. If you are a parent who’s suffering from grief, be sure to give adequate focus to your teenage children and make sure they have a support team too. According to Kids Growth, it’s crucial that you listen to the teenager rather than just providing advice. Teens need sympathetic listeners during times of grief. If you feel you can’t manage your teenager’s grief, you should seek an outside resource such as a grief counselor to help your teen through this difficult process.
Learning to Cope With Grief
Once you have, or your loved one has, been diagnosed, a number of methods can be used to manage grief. According to Clinical Challenges, the most important thing you can do to cope with your grief is to rely on the emotional support of friends and family. Letting others know you need support during this difficult time can reduce the emotional distress prolonged grief can bring to your daily routine. Allowing others to help you get through the daily routine can give your mind more time to process the emotional ramifications of a significant loss.
Another way you can cope with grief is by joining a grief support group. Grief support groups are great for persons who don’t have a strong support system at home or who are uncomfortable talking to family about grief. Since grief can increase the chance of suicide, according to Clinical Challenges, sharing your loss with others who’ve also experienced losses can help you escape from severe loneliness, which is often felt in those with prolonged grief.
How to Treat Grief Disorders
Grief can leave you feeling hopeless without a solution in sight, but a number of medical treatments can help you work through your prolonged grief. You can choose from psychotherapy, prescription medications or a variety of other options designed to help those suffering from complicated grief.
Deciding Between Grief Management Solutions
The grief management solution that’s right for you might not be right for a friend or family member. Oftentimes, it depends on how the person chooses to manage their prolonged grief symptoms.
Medication can be used during the first few weeks of grief to help with sleeping difficulties and extreme anxiety brought on by the sudden change in your life; however, drug therapy doesn’t work to cure prolonged grief. According to WebMD, medication works well for the first few weeks or even months of complicated grief, but only as an aid to help carry on in daily life. Doctors or therapists might prescribe anti-anxiety and anti-depression prescriptions for coping with the funeral (or separation) and the period directly following the loss.
The most productive form of treatment for prolonged grief is therapy. The Mayo Clinic suggests that psychotherapy similar to that used with post-traumatic stress disorder patients works best as it teaches patients to cope with their emotions and learn their grief triggers. Moreover, therapists work to reestablish life goals and direct grief sufferers into understanding the purpose of life outside of other people. If you or someone you know is suffering from prolonged grief, a therapist can help you to understand your loss and teach you how to cope with grief in a productive way, helping you until the grief no longer negatively affects your life.
Where to Find Grief Treatment for a Friend or Family Member
Grief treatments can be found online or in your region. If you’d like immediate assistance in locating a grief counselor, please contact us at 1-888-997-3147(Who Answers?), and we’ll get you the help you need today.
Prolonged grief can destroy your daily life if you don’t have tools to manage it. Grief is natural and everyone will experience grief at some point; however, some people who can’t move beyond the grief need outside help to manage the pain of losing a loved one. Just remember, the best step you can take to manage grief is to establish an emotional support team and get in touch with a therapist or support group to help you manage your symptoms. Call us today for more information on how to get help.