Complicated grief can be treated with traumatic grief therapy

BOSTON, MA — Sometimes, after the loss of a loved one, symptoms of grief linger and become increasingly debilitating. This condition, called complicated grief, has features of both depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And there is some evidence that a distinct type of treatment may bring relief, reports the October issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. The most characteristic symptoms of complicated grief are intrusive thoughts of the deceased person and a painful yearning for his or her presence. When grief is most severe, a person may deny the death or consider suicide. The risk of developing complicated grief depends on both the immediate circumstances of the death and the background against which it occurs. Complicated grief is more likely to occur if the death was sudden, violent, or unexpected. But just as experiences not typically regarded as traumatic can still lead to PTSD symptoms, so can even normal bereavement produce complicated grief.
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