It’s normal to experience grief after a loss, such as the death of a friend or family member. In most cases, these emotions gradually improve over time. But if you’re still living with the symptoms of grief months or years later, you may have what’s known as “complicated grief,” “prolonged grief,” “chronic grief,” or “persistent complex bereavement disorder.”
Many people with complicated grief report feeling “stuck” in life. They often find it difficult to get back into their normal routine, and they may have a hard time finding enjoyment in the activities they once loved. Although there’s no definitive length of time that must have passed for grief to be considered complicated, many professionals contemplate a diagnosis after six months.
Who Experiences Complicated Grief?
Complicated grief can affect anyone. With that said, certain circumstances can make this type of grief more likely to occur. For example, you may have a higher chance of experiencing complicated grief if:
- You had a close relationship with the individual who passed away (or conversely, if you had a difficult relationship with that person).
- Your loved one passed unexpectedly or in an especially traumatic way.
- You lost a relationship, that you may have needed to step away from for your own safety- but others celebrate your freedom despite your heartbreak.
- You don’t have a strong support system, or others minimize the loss or value of the relationship.
- You’re experiencing stress in other areas of your life.
- You’ve previously experienced depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or separation anxiety.
- You experienced trauma during childhood (e.g., abuse or neglect).
Schedule a Therapy Appointment
If you’re experiencing complicated grief—or any other type of grief—I can help you navigate through this experience. Contact me today, and I will answer your questions and arrange a time for you to attend an initial therapy appointment.