Grief, Bereavement, & Loss

snow2Many people cope effectively after a significant loss, with the help of family, friends, and other sources of available support. However, some people experience great difficulty after a significant loss and may need more support through the grief process. Someone who is grieving a loss may experience anxiety, depression, sleep disruption, difficulty focusing on things other than the loss, loneliness, feeling that part of oneself has died, a feeling that life is empty and meaningless, a feeling that their view of the world has been shattered, anger or irritability, and difficulties with day to day activities (Haley et al., 2003; Neimeyer et al., 2002). These problems may be more likely and may last longer (up to several years) after the loss of someone you are really close to and/or in the event of sudden, unexpected, or traumatic loss (Haley et al., 2003).

A difficult bereavement may result in unhealthy changes in behaviors, such as changes in eating patterns, increased alcohol intake, and increased tobacco use, and can contribute to increased health problems, such as cardiac events and high blood pressure (Neimeyer, et al., 2002).

For those having difficulty coping with a significant loss, such as the death of a family member or friend, counseling may be helpful for the following:

  • Coping with difficult emotions that may be experienced
  • Learning ways to cope with stress/anxiety through relaxation techniques and cognitive techniques
  • Working on maintaining or establishing healthy patterns of diet, exercise, and avoidance of increased alcohol or tobacco use
  • Focusing on returning to normal day to day activities, including social activities, as you feel ready
  • Working on making sense of your loss and the meaning of this loss for your life
  • Finding ways of maintaining a meaningful connection with your loved one, while also investing in other relationships and friendships in your life

Please call the Health Psych Maine office at 207-872-5800 if you would like more information or to schedule an appointment.