Grief Symptoms, Causes, and Effects

Grief is a natural reaction to the loss of someone or something significant to you. You might experience a range of emotions, such as melancholy or loneliness. And you could be experiencing it for a variety of reasons. A loved one may have died, a relationship may have ended, or you may have lost your job. Grief can also be triggered by other life events, such as a chronic illness or a relocation to a new house.

Everyone grieves in their own way. You can heal if you understand your emotions, take care of yourself, and seek help.

What Are the Types of Grief Disorders?

Prolonged sorrow disorder and complicated grief disorder are two terms used to describe acknowledged grief disorders. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) recently included prolonged (complex) grief disorder as an established psychiatric diagnostic, providing persons suffering from excruciating grief a label.

Prolonged Grief Disorder

Some people are more susceptible to long-term grief than others. People who suffer from extended mourning disorder frequently have a family history of the disorder, according to an article published in the Oncology Nursing Forum. Women are more likely than males to experience extended mourning disorder, however, some men do as well. Prolonged grief disorder is usually diagnosed six months after the catastrophic incident that caused it. African Americans are 2.5 times more likely than whites to have the disease, according to the study.

Complicated Grief Disorder

Despite the fact that the current clinical designation for the complicated grieving disorder is extended grief disorder, the concept of difficult grief remains quite relevant. According to research from Columbia University’s School of Social Work, over 10% of all bereaved adults experience difficult sorrow. When the usual sensations of grieving following a tragic incident do not fade, this sort of grief develops. Complicated grieving patients are in the same emotional anguish months after a traumatic occurrence as they were on the day of the event.

What Causes Grief?

While the specific origin of protracted or complicated mourning is unknown, normal sadness is most usually associated with the death of a loved one. Grief can also be produced by the following, according to the University of Rochester:

  • Loss of a job
  • Loss of a beloved pet
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of a personal dream
  • Loss of a romantic relationship

Grief can be triggered by the loss of something dear to you. You may be at risk for a grief disorder if you are unable to cope with your sadness for an extended period of time. If you or someone you care about is having trouble coping with grief, call for assistance. Our caring staff members are available at all hours of the day and night to help you find the best therapy for grief disorders.

What Are the Signs of a Grief Management Problem?

Managing grief can be extremely difficult, so it is important to understand the warning signs that may indicate that someone is having a problem dealing with grief. A person having difficulty with grief management might have suicidal thoughts, depression, or difficulty completing daily tasks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nicotine use and drug use may also be signs of a grief management problem.

If you notice any of these warning signs, you should seek help by calling to find a grief treatment program near you. Remember that help is always just a phone call away.

Emotional Symptoms of Grieving

A person who is mourning is likely to exhibit some of the emotional symptoms connected with sadness. The emotional signs of protracted or difficult sorrow are listed by the Mayo Clinic. These can include the following:

  • Increased irritability
  • Numbness
  • Bitterness
  • Detachment
  • Preoccupation with loss
  • Inability to show or experience joy

While these emotional symptoms are common in the days and weeks following a stressful experience, if they persist, they may indicate a more serious condition.

Physical Symptoms of Grieving

It may surprise you to learn that grieving is not solely emotional. The body can be affected by the sadness in very profound ways. According to the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, some of the physical manifestations of grief include:

  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Sore muscles


Complicated grieving can have physical, mental, and social consequences. Complications that may occur if not treated properly include:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Anxiety, including PTSD
  • Significant sleep disturbances
  • Increased risk of physical illness, such as heart disease, cancer or high blood pressure
  • Long-term difficulty with daily living, relationships or work activities
  • Alcohol, nicotine use or substance misuse