Alternate Names : Pathological Grieving, Unresolved Grief
Grieving is a healthy, but often painful emotional reaction to a
loss. Abnormal grieving occurs when this reaction is prolonged, delayed,
or otherwise unresolved over a long period of time. Grief is considered
abnormal when it is accompanied by thoughts of
or if there are psychotic
symptoms, such as a loss of contact with reality.
What is going on in the body?
Grief affects all aspects of one's life. Most often, it is the
response to loss of a loved one through death or separation. It may
also follow the loss of something that is highly valued, such as a job,
an object, or status. People often have emotional, physical, and
behavioral reactions to an irrevocable loss. Grief usually lessens
To adapt to loss, a person must complete four tasks:
accept the reality of the loss
work through the pain of the loss
adjust to life following the loss
move on with life
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Unresolved grief may contribute to higher rates of
and other psychological disorders. Abnormal grieving is more likely to
occur in difficult circumstances. It is more common, for example, when
there are multiple losses within a short period of time.