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Grief is a natural reaction to loss. Whether you lose a beloved person, animal, place, object, or valued way of life (such as your job, marriage, or good health), you will probably experience some grief. It's often worse when the loss is traumatic, sudden, or unexpected, because there is little or no chance to prepare for it or say good-bye.
If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and have recently lost a loved one, you may have symptoms for a longer time than if you hadn't lost a loved one.footnote 1
Events that can cause grief include:
Everyone grieves in a different way. There is no normal and expected period of time for grieving. It can take much longer when the death or loss is traumatic or unexpected. How long you grieve can depend on how much the loss meant to you and how prepared you were for the loss.
You may experience:
You also may be confused and have a hard time making decisions. You may blame yourself or others for the loss.
During the grieving process, you can:
Don't give yourself a timetable for getting over it. You may need to talk to a counselor or other professional.
For more information, see the topics Grief and Grieving and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
CitationsNeria Y, Litz BT (2004). Bereavement by traumatic means: The complex synergy of trauma and grief. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 9(1): 73-87.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Current as ofMay 3, 2017
Current as of: May 3, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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