Grief is an entirely organic and normal human process, and while it sometimes feels like it is hopeless and will never end, it does slowly start to get more comfortable. You should begin to see improvements in the months after losing a loved one, but if you are still struggling to accept the loss a year later, you might be experiencing complicated grief. If that is the case, you will need to seek out support from a mental health professional. 

Many people do not realize that the loss of the loved one can be the causal factor that sends someone into a downward spiral of debilitating depression, anxiety and substance abuse–which can require inpatient care.  

While complicated grief is not a normal pathway to mourn a loved one, it is essential to know you are not alone in this struggle. Many are going through the same excruciating experience, and there are ways to change it and improve it.

This type of persistent grief needs to be treated by a mental health professional, and it is crucial to recognize the signs. Depending on the severity of your situation you may need outpatient therapy or in-patient therapy– which can be determined by a professional. 

What is Complicated Grief Disorder?

This type of grief, also called persistent complex bereavement disorder, happens when normal and expected grief over a loved one becomes severe and lasts longer. Grieving is an entirely normal and healthy process, but when you can’t function in your life normally, and these feelings of sadness and despair persist, it is no longer normal. You may be struggling with complicated grief, which is treatable.

Are You At Risk?

Some people may be more likely than others to experience typical grief to transform into a more persistent condition. Some recognized risk factors for complicated grief include:

  • Grieving the sudden and unexpected loss of a child
  • Having a close relationship with the person who passed away
  • Not having a sound support system when going through the grieving process.
  • Having a history of depression, PTSD or anxiety 
  • Experienced trauma in childhood
  • Have significant issues of stress at the time of the loss

When and How to Seek Help

If these signs of complicated grief sound familiar, it is time to reach out and get help. If you are unsure if your grief has crossed over from typical to complicated, it’s best to seek a professional opinion. Only a healthcare professional can determine if you are struggling with complicated grief, depression, or another issue.

If you are unsure what to do next, you can turn to a trusted family or friend, but it is also imperative to work with a professional. Treatment is necessary to help you feel better and resolve your feelings about loss. Here at Renova Recovery and Treatment Centre, we work with you to find services that fit your needs. Please contact us to learn more and remember, Renova is a Safe Harbour.