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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Abnormal Grieving
      Category : Health Centers > Mental Health (Mental Disorders)

Abnormal Grieving

Alternate Names : Pathological Grieving, Unresolved Grief

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

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 suicide, 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 over time.

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 depression, anxiety, 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.


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    Abnormal Grieving: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Ann Reyes, Ph.D.
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 07/01/01

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