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Impact of Undealt Grief on Health

What is Grief?

Grief is a strong emotion that an individual experiences after losing something or someone. It affects their functioning and exhibits physiological symptoms. The grief causes the individual to suffer from separation anxiety, physiological changes, confusion, dwelling on the past, and losing hope for the future. The individual who has lost a close friend or family member suffers from grief. People become detached from reality; thus, it is necessary to find a healthy way to deal with the loss to enhance health and overall functioning. 

Impact of Undealt Grief on Health

Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief that everyone goes through are:

  • Denial: The individuals fail to understand the loss; thus, they remain in denial.
  • Anger: The individual experience emotional discomfort after realizing the ground facts. Emotional instability causes anger, aggression, and anxiety.
  • Bargaining: The person understands that they cannot do anything to change their situation; hence, they start accepting the reality.
  • Depression: The person feels down, anxious and isolated knowing they have experienced loss. Lack of emotional support increases the risk of suffering from anxiety and depression. It affects everyday life and mental health.
  • Acceptance: The last stage is accepting the loss and feeling normal. The person stopschangingreality and accepts it without resistance.

Complications Associated with Grief

Health problems can occur due to unhealthy ways of grieving. The physical and mental health-related problems include:

  • Anxiety Attacks: Feeling anxious is normal; however, grieving people may suffer from high levels of anxiety with guilt. The person experiences anxiety attacks, which cause physiological changes. The person experiences an increase in heart palpitation, sweating, confusion, and panic.
  • Depression: People without emotional support after losing a loved one or something dear to their heart are at a higher risk of suffering from depression. It causes them to stay alone and detach themselves from reality. Adults going through a divorce or losing their partner are more likely to live in denial, causing depression.
  • Suicidal Ideations: Guilt affects the functioning of the grieving person. It affects their ability to make rational decisions. The individual feels like taking their life, as they or cannot accept the reality. Suicidal thoughts make them think they can escape reality. Family members and close friends, aware of the mental state of the person, must encourage them to seek professional help to improve their health.
  • Prolonged Grief: Individuals who fail to accept reality constantly fear losing other close family members. It affects the individual’s ability to complete daily tasks and compromises their health.
  • PTSD: The traumatic loss of a loved one leads to PTSD. People who have been through sexual assault, natural disasters, war, and torture, which caused them to lose a loved one, are at a higher risk of exhibiting signs of PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects the social, emotional, professional, and personal life and deteriorates the quality of life.
  • Physiological Illnesses: Individuals with prior medical conditions are more likely to suffer from further problems. Grief can worsen their health and make them suffer from stress-induced physical symptoms.
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