The holiday season is in full swing. This time of year is meant to celebrate life, love, family, and friends. However, the holidays can also be difficult, especially if you or someone you know has lost a loved one. Maybe you are grieving the loss of a grandparent, parent, child, sibling, spouse, friend, or pet. Loss is a normal part of being human, and we will all face it at some point. Other causes of grief that you may not have considered:
When a person experiences loss, he or she is said to be grieving. Grief is a natural emotional and physical response to any loss.
People feel a wide range of emotions such as sadness, anger, disbelief, denial, guilt, loneliness, regret, anxiety, acceptance, and many others.
Physically, people may undergo weight and/or appetite changes, decreased energy, lack of concentration, disturbances in sleep, loss of interest in sex, headaches, and so on.
Grief is a personal and individual experience—no two people grieve the same way. There is no one right or wrong way of grieving as long as it does not lead to behaviors that harm yourself or others. Bereavement is the period of time a person goes through grief following the loss of a loved one. Bereavement varies in duration and intensity, but it can last a year or longer in some cases.
Everyone is different, and reactions to loss are influenced by many factors such as:
While coping after a loss is painful and challenging, most people eventually find effective ways to heal and return to their daily life activities such as school or work. Some people, however, have more difficulty with recovering from a loss, and their emotional and physical symptoms do not improve. They may develop a psychiatric illness called depression. If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, there are many treatments available including:
Community support groups with other people who have similar experiences
The information posted on the Healthy Minds. Healthy Lives. blog is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice. All decisions about clinical care should be made in consultation with your treating physician.