Font Size

Grief and Bereavement (cont.)

When to Seek Professional Help

  • Some situations are unique in their challenges and may necessitate professional help.
    • One such situation is the death of a child. Such an event is just against the natural order of things, and it is a type of grief that we may be unable to truly work through to an accommodation.
    • Another such situation is the murder of a loved one. Trauma such as murder complicates grief, adding a whole new dimension to our bereavement, one that we are reminded of with each news broadcast.
    • Disenfranchised grief occurs when we experience a loss that cannot be openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported. An example would be the loss experienced by someone who was having an affair with a married person who dies. Because the usual opportunity for mourning is not available, disenfranchised grief is hard to work through and may be prolonged.
    • Complicated grief is delayed or incomplete adaptation to our loss. In complicated grief, there is a failure to return, over time, to pre-loss levels of functioning, or to the previous state of emotional well-being. Grief may be worse in younger people, women, and people with limited social support, thus increasing their risk for complicated grief. Counseling from a minister, grief counselor, family physician, or mental-health professional may be required to effectively deal with complicated grief.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/20/2015
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Grief and Bereavement

Advance Directives
Advance Directives Advance directives center around the principles of your right to die and death with dignity. A living will tells doctors what life-prolonging treatments to perf...learn more >>
Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer Disease Alzheimer's disease (AZ) is the most common cause of dementia...learn more >>
Anxiety Anxiety as a medical condition is characterized b...learn more >>

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Grief Support in the ED »

A worried father is brought to a private waiting area.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary