Understanding complicated grief treatment options

Grief is a normal response to the loss of a loved one. It is often described as being on an emotional roller-coaster, but for some people, the grieving process can become complicated. Complicated grief is longer-lasting and can interfere with a person’s daily life. Fortunately, there are treatment options available that can help individuals cope with their complicated grief and get back on track. Let’s take a look at what those treatment options are.

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What is Complicated Grief?

Complicated grief (CG) is an extreme form of normal grief that becomes so intense and prolonged that it prevents an individual from being able to move on with their life. Symptoms of CG include extreme sadness, difficulty accepting the loss, preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased, feeling overwhelmed by memories or reminders of the person who died, difficulty trusting others again, and feelings of guilt or shame. It’s important to note that there are distinct differences between CG and depression; while depression is characterised by feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, CG involves more emotion-focused symptoms such as yearning for the deceased or feeling like one’s life has been shattered beyond repair due to the loss.

What are the Signs of Complicated Grief?

Complicated grief is often characterised by persistent feelings of intense sadness, anger, guilt, or worthlessness that don’t seem to ease over time. Other signs may include difficulty engaging in activities that used to provide pleasure and feeling unable to move on with life without the deceased individual. It can also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, and headaches.

Types of Complicated Grief Treatment

The most common type of treatment for complicated grief is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT helps individuals recognise and challenge negative thoughts and behaviours that may be making it harder for them to move forward with their lives. It also teaches them how to express their emotions in healthier ways, such as talking about them or journaling. This can help individuals better process their feelings of grief and cope more effectively with their loss.


Another type of treatment used to treat complicated grief is psychotherapy, which involves talking with a trained mental health professional about your feelings and experiences in order to gain insight into your emotions. During psychotherapy sessions, individuals can discuss difficult topics such as death and dying without feeling judged or criticised by others. Additionally, psychotherapy can help individuals explore any underlying issues that may be causing their grief or making it worse, such as unresolved anger or guilt over the death of a loved one.

Finally, medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed by a physician if needed in order to manage symptoms associated with depression or anxiety caused by complicated grief. These drugs should always be used in conjunction with talk therapy since they do not address the root cause of the problem—only provide short-term symptom relief.

In conclusion, there are many different types of treatments available for those struggling with complicated grief. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps individuals recognise and challenge negative thought patterns that could be hindering their ability to move forward after loss; psychotherapy allows individuals to talk through difficult topics without fear of judgement; and medications may be prescribed if needed in order to manage symptoms associated with depression or anxiety caused by complicated grief. No matter which form of treatment you choose, it’s important to remember that healing takes time and patience—but it’s possible! If you are struggling with complicated grief, reach out for help today so you can start your journey towards recovery.

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