Complicated Grief Disorder Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Complicated Grief Disorder

What Is Complicated Grief Disorder?

Complicated grief disorder (CGD) is a proposed disorder for those who are significantly and functionally impaired by prolonged grief symptoms for at least one month after six months of bereavement

Complicated grief is considered when an individual is unable to resume normal activities and responsibilities beyond six months of bereavement.

Six months is considered to be the appropriate point of CGD consideration, since studies show that most people are able to integrate bereavement into their lives by this time

Causes Of Complicated Grief Disorder:

The cause of complicated grief disorder is yet unknown.

However, it is speculated that genetics and environment may play a role.

The following factors increase the likelihood of developing complicated grief disorder:

  • An unexpected or violent death, such as death from a car accident, or the murder or suicide of a loved one
  • Death of a child
  • Close or dependent relationship to the deceased person
  • Lack of a support system or friendships
  • Past history of depression or other mental health issues
  • Traumatic childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect
  • Lack of resilience or adaptability to life changes
  • Other major life stressors

Symptoms Of Complicated Grief Disorder:

Those suffering from complicated grief disorder may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Intense sorrow and pain at the thought of your loved one
  • Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
  • Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased
  • Problems accepting the death
  • Numbness or detachment
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one

Diagnosis Of Complicated Grief Disorder:

One is diagnosed with complicated grief disorder if he/she fits the following criteria:

  • The person has been bereaved (i.e. experienced the death of a loved one) for at least six months
  • At least one of the following symptoms of persistent, intense, acute grief has been present for a period longer than is expected by others in the person’s social (or cultural) environment:
    • Persistent intense yearning or longing for the person who died
    • Frequent intense feelings of loneliness, or that life is empty or meaningless without the person who died
    • Recurrent thoughts that it is unfair, meaningless or unbearable to live when a loved one has died, or a recurrent urge to die in order to find (or join) the deceased
    • Frequent preoccupying thoughts about the person who died; e.g. thoughts or images of the person intrude on activities or interfere with functioning
  • Duration of symptoms and impairment of at least one month
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other major areas of functioning, where impairment is not explicable as a culturally appropriate response

Treatment Of Complicated Grief Disorder:

The following treatments are available:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Complicated grief therapy

By : Natural Health News