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There are major individual differences in reaction and adaptations to the loss of a loved one. This depends on a many factors such as the complexity of the relationship, the closeness in the relationship, the way in which the death occurred, the perceived support provided by others and personality factors.


Religions and cultures give guidelines on what to do and when to do when a loved one passes away but rarely do they give you a how to guide to process your grief.


There is no correct time frame for someone to grieve the loss of a loved one.


Prolonged grief is the most common form of complicated grief in adults. It is different from normal grief in that the immediate grief reactions persist with undiminished strength, beyond what is expected in light of cultural and religious norms. This causes a considerable loss of everyday functioning and may include not being able to care for themselves or possibly their children.


Someone experiencing prolonged grief may have difficulty accepting the death of a loved one; they may feel as if they have lost a part of themselves, they may identify and dramatise themselves as a widow or widower and they are either emotional numb or emotional volatile making it difficult for them to continue with their lives as previously.


Prolonged grief disorder is not the same as depression; the difference is in thoughts and emotions that continue to circle around the loved ones passing. In a depressed state, feelings are more generalised and less associated with the loss of the loved one with intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness.


Sleep disturbances are common in both prolonged grief and depression. However, pronounced weight loss, slowness in thinking, speaking and moving and difficulty in making decisions are prominent in depression and less likely to be evident in prolonged grief.


Suicidal thoughts occur in both prolonged grief and depression. In prolonged grief, this will often be associated with a wish to be reunited with their loved one, and in depression, thoughts of ending life will commonly be more associated with the irrational belief that people would be better off without them.


As prolonged grief and depression often occur in parallel, it is advisable that you connect with a medical practioner in order to get the correct support, guidance and possible medical intervention.


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