Adverse Effects of Grief on Our Health


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Adverse Effects of Grief on Our Health

Losing someone you love can weave a heavy toll on your well-being. Grief is an emotion that can culminate to a point that a person experiences an actual physical pain on top of the psychological implications. Grief is also comparable to another emotion called fear. Author C.S. Lewis said expressed in his book that no one ever told him that grief felt so like fear while reflecting upon his wife’s passing.

Grief may arise due to varieties of nature. Some experiences are less traumatic yet others were deemed devastated from the very core. In all cases, grief is known to have real physiological and physical outcomes on health.

M. Katherine Shear, MD, a Professor of Psychiatry of Columbia University and director of the Center for Complicated Grief  imparted that the most effective way to understand how grief can create an effect on your health is to have a broad and substantiated understanding about bereavement.

She further added that timely get-together activities with the people we love to be with of help in regulating our daily functions associated both physically and psychologically. Losing someone important can reverse the functioning out of control and which makes us, in the long term,  disoriented.


Is Exhaustion related to Grief?

Exhaustion cannot always be associated with grief but it is a fact that when a person suffers from grief one of the key symptom is extreme tiredness and loss of focus so much so that it becomes difficult to function even the usual tasks. A mother reflects upon the period of grief she went through when her pre-adoloscent boy drowned in a drastic event. She did not give the necessary attention to the emotion which was said to be so physically stressing that she felt fragile and exhausted at all time. She even went to the point of associating that feeling with that of confusion and fear.

Effects of Grief

There are many ill effects associated with grief that are not limited to psychological damage but migrates its intensity over the physical well-being of the person experiencing bereavement. Some of the symptoms are as follows:

Brain Haze: Numerous studies have associated poor memory performance and acute trouble with concentration to grief as the person is not able to pry the brain out of the loop of feeling a sense of loss.

Feeling Loneliness: As discussed earlier, loss of closed one typically renders one feeling disoriented and out of control. At certain cases, a person is unable to feel connected to other people as they are stuck with memories of the person who passed away and a sense of disbelief, makes a person unable to regulate the emotion and feel as sense of loneliness.

Use of Substance: Grief has long been associated with substance abuse because the person is physically and emotionally tired of feeling the sense of loss and resorts to these options for relief. According to Mental Health America, a national advocacy group, bereavement stretched over time can culminate into chronic depression and anxiety attacks. Whereas, studies show bereaved men to have a higher likelihood to develop alcohol-related problems compared to women.

Immunity and Cardiac health: Stress hormones can have a lethal effect on person experiencing grief to the lengths of leading up to cardiac issues. People normally describe emotional impact of grief as heartbreak and heart ache because with greater gravity of emotion a person may physically feel hampered regulation of heart.

Although grief has effects and symptoms that can be correlated to illness but Shear stresses on the fact that bereavement itself cannot be treated as a malignant illness. According to her it is the natural response to loss and also when we lose someone we love, the loss is permanent and significant, and grief will also become permanent. Instead of suppression, acknowledging and finding a closure is the key to overcoming adverse effects of grief.

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