Grief and Grieving

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Grief is a normal reaction to a significant loss that may cause feelings such as sadness and preoccupation with the loss. Grieving is a process that typically progresses through stages, from becoming aware of the loss, to feeling and expressing grief, eventually ending with adjustment to the loss.

Grieving can elicit physical symptoms brought on by the stress of grief and life adjustment, such as problems eating and sleeping, headache, tightness in the throat, or body aches and pains.

Intense grieving can resemble depression. Long-term grief can lead to depression, but in most cases a person who is grieving does not have a major depressive disorder. If symptoms of depression persist without improvement for more than 2 months during a period of grief, the person should call a doctor.

Current as of: March 12, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Sidney Zisook, MD - Psychiatry