Grief is your emotional reaction to a major loss. The words "sorrow" and "heartache" often are used to describe feelings of grief. You feel grief when you lose a beloved person, pet, place, or thing. It is also natural to feel grief when you lose a valued way of life, such as a job, marriage, or good health.
You may begin to grieve before a loss occurs. You may grieve for a loved one who is sick and dying. Children and adults often feel the pain of loss before a big move or divorce. This type of grief helps you get ready for a loss.
Grief is different for each person. There is no "normal" or "expected" period of time for grieving. Some people adjust to their loss within a couple of months. Others may take 2 years or longer, especially if their lives were changed a lot or if the loss was sudden and shocking.
Grieving can cause problems such as headaches, loss of appetite, and trouble with thinking or sleeping. You may withdraw from friends and family and behave in ways that are unusual for you. Grief may cause you to question your beliefs and views about life.
Grief is natural and does not require medical treatment. But if you have trouble sleeping, it may help to take sleeping pills for a short time. It may help to talk with people who have been through or are going through similar losses. You may also want to talk to a counsellor about your feelings. Talking about your loss, sharing your cares and concerns, and getting support from others are important parts of healthy grieving.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed
Enter H249 in the search box to learn more about "Grief (Actual/Anticipated): Care Instructions."
Current as of:
February 24, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
© 2006-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.