Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
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.