Differences and Causes of Complicated Grief as Opposed to “Normal Grief” Candice Brooke Coers  PSY 492 Advanced General Ps...
Grief—Defined  <ul><li>Grief can be defined as an emotional reaction to a significant loss </li></ul><ul><li>Grief involve...
Common Symptoms of Grieving <ul><li>Initial shock or numbness </li></ul><ul><li>Sadness </li></ul><ul><li>Guilt </li></ul>...
Common Phases or Stages in the Grieving Process <ul><li>Shock and/or numbness or difficulty believing the death occurred <...
So, What is Complicated Grief? <ul><li>If mourning goes on for a significant period of time </li></ul><ul><li>No progress ...
Signs and Symptoms of Complicated Grief <ul><li>Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one </li></ul><ul><li...
Differences Between Complicated and Uncomplicated Grief <ul><li>No signs or lack of improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Impact o...
References <ul><li>Bereavement, loss, and grief symptoms, causes, treatment—Phases on grief.  (2011). Retrieved  </li></ul...
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Differences And Causes Of Complicated Grief As Opposed

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  • At some point in our lives, we will have to deal with or have dealt with some kind of loss of a loved one or loved ones; most of us, already, know when we lose someone close or dear to us, that we will experience grief. This presentation explores the varying levels of grief, stages of grief, and an introduction to the term complicated grief; it will, also, explore the differences as well as the causes of complicated grief as opposed to “normal grief.”
  • “ Grief is an emotional reaction to a significant loss; whether one loses a beloved person, animal, place, or object, or a valued way of life (such as a job, marriage, or good health), some level of grief will naturally follow” (Grief and, 2009, p. 1). In other words, “grieving is the process of emotional and life adjustment that one goes through after a loss; grieving after a loved one’s death is also known as bereavement” (Grief and, 2009, p. 1). Of equal importance to mentioning the meaning or definition of grief and grieving, “grieving is a personal experience.” Since grieving is a personal experience, depending on who you are and the nature of the loss an individual has experienced, the process of grieving will differ from person to person (Grief and, 2009). The article, Grief and Grieving (2009) on the WebMD website claims, “There is no ‘normal and expected period of time for grieving; while some individuals adjust to a new life within several weeks or months, others take a year or more, particularly when their daily life has dramatically changed or their loss was traumatic or unexpected” (p. 1). In sum, grief or bereavement is an emotional reaction and involves a process to the loss of loved one that may vary from person to person depending on the type of loss the person has experienced.
  • Again, grief or bereavement involves a process of common symptoms as well as major stages that may be experienced by an individual, but may vary from person to person in the severity or level of experience. This slide is an example of some of the common symptoms of grieving. One may experience “a wide range of feelings and symptoms are common during grieving” or the grieving process (Grief and, 2009, p. 1). Common symptoms associated with grief involves: feelings of initial “shock, numbness, sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, or fear;” furthermore, “the stress of grief or grieving can take a physical toll on one’s body” (Grief and, 2009, p. 1). “Sleeplessness is common, as is a weakened immune system over time; if one has a chronic illness, grieving can make his or her condition worse” (Grief and, 2009, p. 1).
  • In addition to the common symptoms that one may experience, the following major stages or phases are relevant to the bereavement process: shock and numbness or difficulty believing the death has occurred, yearning and searching or separation anxiety, disorganization and despair, and reorganization (Bereavement, loss, 2011).
  • “If normal mourning does not occur, or if the mourning goes on for a long time without any progress, it is called ‘complicated grief’ or ‘unresolved grief’” (Major depression, 2010, p. 3). “Complicated grief is grief that is prolonged, persistent, and severe and is sometimes referred to as ‘abnormal grief;’ it interferes with a person’s entire life, stripping them of their interests and desires in life and often takes the form of severe depression” (Complicated Grief, 2009, p. 1). Like “normal grief,” complicated or abnormal grief can take a toll on a person’s emotional and physical health. Although “there is no handbook for how one should grieve or for how long, there is a point when grief becomes serious and potentially dangerous;” as a result, “complicated grief is being considered for a spot in the DSM-V” (Complicated Grief, 2009, p. 1). “Until now, complicated grief has not been thought of as an actual mental disorder itself but rather an aspect of another existing disorder (i.e. depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc); that will all change if the decision is made to include complicated grief in the DSM-V, which is due out in 2012” (Complicated Grief, 2009, p. 1).
  • “Signs and symptoms of complicated grief can include: extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one, intense longing or pining for the deceased, problems accepting the death, numbness or detachment, preoccupation with your sorrow, bitterness about your loss, and inability to enjoy life” are a few symptoms among the many others (Complicated grief: All, 2009, p. 2). A list of more symptoms as well as symptoms experienced when professional help would be beneficial can be retrieved on the mayo clinic website under the complicated grief search topic.
  • In sum, the difference between the complicated and uncomplicated grief is simply that no signs or lack of improvement in the symptoms appear over time as well as the significant impact on ability to function in daily life; although complicated or abnormal grief has not been classified as a disorder in the DSM-V but may be merely another aspect of an underlying disorder as discussed above, consideration and national attention is being given to this type of grief. Currently, efforts are being put forth for diagnostic criteria in addition to complicated grief assessment by two Ph.D. scholars.
  • Differences And Causes Of Complicated Grief As Opposed

    1. 1. Differences and Causes of Complicated Grief as Opposed to “Normal Grief” Candice Brooke Coers PSY 492 Advanced General Psychology
    2. 2. Grief—Defined <ul><li>Grief can be defined as an emotional reaction to a significant loss </li></ul><ul><li>Grief involves an emotional and life adjustment that can vary in levels and degrees </li></ul>
    3. 3. Common Symptoms of Grieving <ul><li>Initial shock or numbness </li></ul><ul><li>Sadness </li></ul><ul><li>Guilt </li></ul><ul><li>Anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Fear </li></ul>
    4. 4. Common Phases or Stages in the Grieving Process <ul><li>Shock and/or numbness or difficulty believing the death occurred </li></ul><ul><li>Yearning and searching or separation anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Disorganization and despair </li></ul><ul><li>Reorganization </li></ul>
    5. 5. So, What is Complicated Grief? <ul><li>If mourning goes on for a significant period of time </li></ul><ul><li>No progress in grieving process </li></ul><ul><li>Interferes with person’s entire life and daily functioning </li></ul>
    6. 6. Signs and Symptoms of Complicated Grief <ul><li>Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one </li></ul><ul><li>Intense longing or pining for the deceased </li></ul><ul><li>Problems accepting the death </li></ul><ul><li>Numbness or detachment </li></ul><ul><li>Preoccupation with sorrow </li></ul><ul><li>Bitterness </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to enjoy life </li></ul>
    7. 7. Differences Between Complicated and Uncomplicated Grief <ul><li>No signs or lack of improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Impact on ability to function and perform daily activities </li></ul>
    8. 8. References <ul><li>Bereavement, loss, and grief symptoms, causes, treatment—Phases on grief. (2011). Retrieved </li></ul><ul><li>from, http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=83860&page=4# </li></ul><ul><li>Phases </li></ul><ul><li>Complicated grief: all. (2009, September 29). Retrieved from, http://www.mayoclinic.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>health/complicated-grief/DS01023/DSECTION=symptoms </li></ul><ul><li>Complicated grief: symptoms. (2009, September 29). Retrieved from, http://www.mayoclinic. </li></ul><ul><li>com/health/complicated-grief/DS01023/DSECTION=symptoms </li></ul><ul><li>Complicated grief getting national attention . (2009, October 1). Retrieved from, </li></ul><ul><li>http://dying.about.com/b/2009/10/01/complicated-grief-getting-national- </li></ul><ul><li>attention.htm?p=1 </li></ul><ul><li>Grief and grieving—topic overview . (2009, October 23). Retrieved from, </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.webmd.com/balance/tc/grief-and-grieving-topic-overview </li></ul><ul><li>Horowitz, M., Siegel, B., Holen, A., Bonanno, G., Milbrath, C., Stinson, C., (2003). </li></ul><ul><li>Diagnostic criteria for complicated grief disorder. Focus: The journal of lifelong learning in </li></ul><ul><li>psychiatry, 1 (3), 290-298. </li></ul><ul><li>Inventory of Complicated Grief . (2011). Retrieved January 14, 2011, from, </li></ul><ul><li> http://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregivers/practice- </li></ul><ul><li>settings/assessment/tools/complicated-grief.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>Larson, D G. (2007). What has become of grief counseling? Professional Psychology: </li></ul><ul><li>Research and Practice , 38 (4), 347-355. </li></ul><ul><li>Major depression and complicated grief . (2010, December 30). Retrieved from, </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/EmotionalSideEffects/ </li></ul><ul><li>GriefandLoss/coping-with-the-loss-of-a-loved-one </li></ul><ul><li>Some principles of grief work . (2005, February 19). Retrieved from, </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.blatner.com/adam/psyntbk/grief.htm </li></ul>

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