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In this section, we include the latest Research and Articles on "Grief & Our Health" :

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness 

“People who are happy but have little-to-no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are enduring chronic adversity.

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors of the study wrote.

 "If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need.”  

While being happy is about feeling good, meaning is derived from contributing to others or to society in a bigger way..."Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy.”

Bereavement Increases Mortality Risk By Influencing The Immune System Negatively

"April 22, 2019 - Research shows that bereavement influences health severely negatively.

It has physical as well as psychological and neurological impacts.

He says it causes abdominal pain in the upper abdomen and lower chest,

causes eating disturbances,

it can cause chronic fatigue and chronic insomnia

as well as functional impairment due to

the stress and anxiety which stem from the loss of a loved one.

New research looks at

why one’s mortality risk increases with bereavement by

assessing various old studies so as to compile them all in one place...

Researchers have viewed evidence that

bereavement negatively influences immunity"

 Below are some of the latest articles on how grief can impact our health and various parts of our daily lives. 

The articles and research shared below were suggested by My Grief Angels online community; including website, MOOC & Grief Support Network App users.

Grief & Our Health Categories in Alphabetical Order  - Table of Contents:


Anticipatory Grief

Child Loss


Complicated Grief Disorder

Crimes against the Grieving


Death: How Grief Can Kill


Eating Disorders & Food

Equine Therapy

Grief Brain





ICU Deaths


Medical Schools/Hospitals

Medicine or Faith

Mental Health





Social Media

Substance Abuse









How age alters our immune response to bereavement. Young people have a more robust immune response to the loss of a loved one, according to new research from the University of Birmingham, providing insight into how different generations cope with loss. - Role Reversal: The Emotional Impact of Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents. One of the most difficult shifts that adult children experience as they begin to care is their images of their parents change. The person who was once strong is now weak, the provider now needs to be cared for, the protector is now vulnerable, and the independent man now needs help around the house. It is in our human nature to want relationships to stay the same, but in the wise words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, “when you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand…The only real security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.” - British Researchers..For the elderly, bereavement or an unhappy marriage may weaken the effectiveness of a flu vaccine



Anticipatory Grief Alzheimer’s disease and ‘the long goodbye’ Coping with end of life experience a difficult proposition. 
A 2008 study carried out at the University of Indianapolis found that grief was, in fact, the heaviest burden that those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease had to endure. The study focused on the idea of “anticipatory grief,” and mourning the loss of someone before they actually die, and “ambiguous loss,” which arises when you are dealing with someone who is no longer psychologically or socially present. Both issues trumped the daily frustrations of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, the study found. It urged that caregivers be made to understand that these feelings are normal and widely shared. - Grieving and Moving On. Sleepless in the Philippines. For those of us with loved ones facing a terminal illness, grieving actually starts the minute we get the grim prognosis. The duration and intensity of grieving is a personal and individual process which cannot be rushed. Some go through a state of shock, feeling numb or disoriented. Some, as in my case, have trouble sleeping. Some dwell on the words of love or forgiveness they have not uttered. Some, like in the case of my nephew, dream repeatedly about all the advice and serious conversations they had since he was a child. Uncontrolled sobbing or crying outbursts are also common. Finish your grieving first.That doesn’t mean forgetting your loss. It only means you have fully accepted the loss and you are over the stage where you keep on asking God why your loved one died. You know you are ready to move on when you start asking how you will rebuild your life. - How Does the Grieving Nurse Heal? Often, oncology nurses get to know their patients and families on a deeper level. The bond that forms between patient and nurse is unique. It is what drives many nurses to stay in oncology and is why many nurses feel that what they do is important. It is also what makes it so difficult when the patient takes a turn. When the beloved patient dies, the nurse also grieves. The nurse puts on his or her professional face to provide respectful care of the deceased, emotional support for the family, and strength for the other patients. Then the moment comes when the nurse finds herself or himself alone. This is the time to pause and acknowledge your own sadness. It is vitally important for nurses to care for their coworkers, honor each other’s grief, and to reach out and allow nurses to express themselves. A small gesture can go a long way. - Grieving Alzheimer’s Disease.When a diagnosis of Alzheimer's is received the impact for family members and loved ones is immense, however it is all too often overlooked. 
The thought of losing a loved one to the progressive disease has damaging effects on caregivers, family and friends.  This can manifest in sleeplessness, loss of appetite or overeating, low energy, tension and exhaustion.  Emotional responses can also manifest, such as loneliness, guilt, anger, isolation and depression. The extent of these symptoms can vary and the experience of caregiving is different and unique for everyone. - Alzheimer's, Anticipatory Grief, and Ambiguous Loss: Saying Goodbye But Still Here. Anticipatory grief is the pain and sadness that arises in advance of an expectant loss. It’s the emotional effect associated with losing a relative before that person dies. A common phenomenon among caregivers to the chronically and terminally ill..Caregivers experiencing anticipatory can encounter symptoms including mood swings, forgetfulness, disorganized and confused behavior, anger, and depression. Weight loss or gain, sleep problems, and general fatigue are also common. In the midst of anticipatory grief, friends and family of those with dementia may also battle with ambiguous loss, or the confusing feeling of interacting with someone who is not fully present mentally or socially. - Are there really 5 stages of grieving?  
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. 
We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death.” Joan Didion’s candid account of bereavement in The Year of Magical Thinking provides a powerful experience of what it is like to lose a loved one. 


Child Loss

"Researchers find link between bereavement during pregnancy, child’s mental health.

"The scholars said that their study contributes to the research documenting a causal link between fetal stress exposure and mental health later in life. Losing a loved one during pregnancy may affect the mental health of the child as he or she grows into adulthood, according to a study by two Stanford researchers. We find that prenatal exposure to the death of a maternal relative increases take-up of ADHD medications during childhood and anti-anxiety and depression medications in adulthood,” wrote the researcher" Miscarriage and its effects on a grieving father.​ A 22-year-old soldier, Jack admits that the "military mindset" may have contributed to his initial decision to "man up" and remain silent.  "I was so focused on looking after Leanne, I didn't want to show her I was weak or as down as she was,"  
Miscarriage report: 'Dads grieve too. Why didn't anyone ask if I was OK?' - A study has shown that the partners of women who miscarry feel unable to talk about it - and are sidelined by a lack of advice - Can a Miscarriage mess up your fertility? After a miscarriage, it can take four to 12 weeks for a woman’s hormones to get back to normal, longer if the miscarriage occurred later in the pregnancy..However, that doesn’t look at the hormones of Grief, such as the stress hormone cortisol, which can block the hormones you need to be pregnant again,” Most women experience miscarriage as a major source of grief. “Most doctors don’t understand how important balanced stress hormones are, but high cortisol can cause problems with fertility and miscarriage too.”  
Grief in Pregnancy May Trigger Obesity in Adulthood. 
Extreme stress even before conception can affect unborn child's weight, study suggests.  -Positive Emotions: Do they have a role in the Grieving Process? Positive emotions are surprisingly prevalent among the bereaved, even relatively soon after the loss. In one study on coping with the loss of an infant to SIDS, nearly half of the parents were experiencing positive emotions three months after the death. Positive emotions need not be intense or prolonged to produce beneficial effects. In fact, mourners with just a minimal amount of positive emotions and a great deal of negative emotion do better than those with no positive emotions at all. It is more difficult to experience positive emotions following some kinds of loss than others.  For example, those whose loved one dies unexpectedly are likely to show lower levels of positive emotion than those whose loved one’s death was expected. -Coping with Guilt After Your Baby Dies. A normal part of grief, feeling guilty doesn't mean you are actually guilty. Guilt arises from the normal sense of responsibility parents feel for their children, and the belief that we have control over what happens to us and our loved ones. It is a result of the expectation that if you do all the right things, you’ll bear healthy babies and your children will live long lives. - Extreme Grief Is Linked to M.S. - The parents of children who died unexpectedly were twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis in the next decade as parents whose children did not die, a new Danish study reports




Children 6 Ways That Adolescent Grief Is Different. Adolescents can be isolated in their grief. Adolescents are more likely to turn to the Internet and social media as they cope with loss. Adolescent grief may be masked by other behaviors.  -Helping Kids with Grief when Friends Die. The first thing parents can do is model appropriate grief reactions. Children and teens are often embarrassed to show their feelings. They need to see that it is alright to grieve. Sharing your feelings about what happened with your children will encourage them to talk to you about their feelings. Let your child know that you are always there to talk to, no matter what time of day it is. Then prove it. Because teens are so busy during the day, they often don’t realize that they need to talk until they go to bed and can’t sleep. Also, encourage journal or art work creation to express their grief.

Courtesy of ( on:  “Helping Grieving Children”

1. Be aware that children grieve differently than adults do. Play is the language of childhood. A child may cry or seem sad one moment, then ask to go out to play the next. Children can often work out difficult feelings during play. What appears to be regular play may be an important part of your child’s grieving process.

2. Use language that your child can understand. Children’s understanding of death varies with their age. Saying that a loved one is “asleep,” “lost,” or “gone” may seem like a gentle concept to an adult, but it may alarm or confuse your child.

• Children ages 2 to 7 often see death as temporary. You may have to remind the child that the loved one has died and will not be coming back.

• Children ages 7 to 12 understand that death cannot be reversed. To cope with this knowledge, they may ask questions about the details of the loved one’s death.

3. Allow your child to attend the funeral if she or he wants to. Funerals are difficult for everyone. You may be tempted to shield your child from this experience. However, children usually respond best when given the choice to attend or stay home.

4. Share your faith and beliefs in ways your child can understand. The idea of a loved one going to heaven can bring comfort to those whose beliefs include an afterlife. Keep in mind, though, that a child who does not understand that death is permanent may believe that he or she can visit the loved one in heaven.

5. Hug your child often. A grieving child may need more physical comforting than usual.

6. Ease your child’s fears. When a loved one dies, a young child may worry that other people he or she loves will also die. Or, your child may worry that he or she caused the loved one’s death in some way.

7. Pay close attention to your child so that you can help ease his or her fears.

8. Include your children in plans to cope with special days. Thinking about birthdays, anniversaries and holidays is often more difficult than dealing with the days themselves.

9. Take care of yourself. Parents helping their children through grief are usually grieving as well. Grief can leave you feeling tired and weak. Make sure you eat and rest regularly. It is important to help your child without forgetting about your own needs.

10. Ask for help. Members of your extended family, friends and neighbors can do things like shop for groceries or sort the mail to give you more time to spend with your child.

11. Get extra support. Consider consulting a professional who understands the special needs of bereaved children. You may learn new ways to help your child. Support groups are available for children who have lost a loved one to cancer. There are also support groups for parents that may give you a chance to discuss your concerns.

In some cultures, they say that children are often the ones that will tell you the truth; whether we like it or not.

 At a time when all of us, the adults, were deeply lost in our grief, pain, and tears, my little nephew picked up this poster from the storage area, and without saying a word, he just brought it into the room we were all gathered. Then he left to play outside. - Raising Grieving Children. How children can survive the death of a loved one. The "Invisible Mourners" -  Children and young people who have experienced the death of a friend. They are often overlooked amongst those who are grieving. -Teen Grief: Helping Your Teens through Grief. 
Teen grief can happen with the death of a parent, grandparent, sibling or friend. Teen grief can also be triggered by a breakup, parents getting a divorce, a move, or another major loss. Parents can help by being willing to listen. Don’t negate  your teen’s experience with statements such as: “don’t feel bad” or “you should be over it by now.” If you are unable to listen due to your own grief, I recommend that you both get support.  - 
The Rules of Grieving: They are still boys. 
Many children have lost or will lose a parent. A full 3.5 percent of children younger than 18 will lose their mother or father, according to the Social Security Administration. As people now become parents when they are older, this number is likely to increase.Parental death is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a child. Itincreases the risk of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms. It can also mean less academic success and low self-esteem. But children do not have to fall victim to their grief. A six-year study of 244 youths by researchers at Arizona State University shows that children who work through their emotions will heal better. That children who work in groups will realize that they are not alone and that their feelings are legitimate. 




Complicated Grief Disorder - March 27, 2018 - Therapy Best Treatment for Complicated Grief Due to Suicide. Complicated grief (CG) due to suicide is better treated with grief-oriented therapy than with medication, new research shows.  "For complicated grief (CG), adding an antidepressant does not significantly enhance the efficacy of targeted complicated grief treatment (CGT) psychotherapy, but it is helpful for patients with co-occurring depressive symptoms, new research shows...The study also shows that "complicated grief (or prolonged grief disorder) differs from major depression. If complicated grief would be some form of depression, antidepressant medication should help. But as it does not, you can assume it is different," - A Grief So Deep It Won’t Die. Complicated or prolonged grief can assail anyone, but it is a particular problem for older adults, because they suffer so many losses — spouses, parents, siblings, friends. Symptoms characteristic of Complicated Grief include: intense longing or yearning, preoccupying thoughts and memories and an inability to accept the loss and to imagine a future without the person who died. Often mourners with these symptoms are convinced that had they done something differently, they might have prevented the death. Severe and prolonged compared with typical reactions, complicated grief impairs the mourner’s ability to function. - People with complicated grief face an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. There is no timetable for the healing process. “In general, grief usually evolves over time from an acute form that tends to dominate a person’s mind to an integrated form in which the core features of sadness and yearning are much more subdued,” When those feelings persist or intensify, the result may be a condition known as complicated grief or prolonged grief disorder (PGD). As much as 10% of all bereaved people experience complicated grief. Complicated Grief or/and Depression: “Depressed people do not have the central problem of missing the deceased and the associated emotional pain. Across many studies, this comes out as a distinct factor in distinguishing the two conditions, although often people can have both.”  Grief can become so deep that life becomes paralyzed. It's indisputable that some people become stuck in emotional quicksand after a beloved spouse or child dies, unable to adapt, to function or to put their lives back together. Brain scans of people with complicated grief suggest a biological basis for this condition. In a 2008 study by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, a region of the brain associated with anticipated rewards and addictivelike behavior — the nucleus accumbens — lit up when people looked at photographs of loved ones they had lost. This was not true for people who were less disabled by grief. Like PTSD, complicated grief is far more common when a death is violent or traumatic. But unlike PTSD, fear isn't the dominant emotion. Instead, overwhelming sadness and longing for the person who has passed away are paramount.        ‘Exposure therapy’ helps patients with prolonged grief.

Adding one-on-one sessions focused on reliving the experience of losing a loved one to regular group therapy appears to help more patients with prolonged grief, according to a new study. Most people who lose a loved one feel stress, grieve and adapt over time. But seven to 10 percent of people get stuck in the grief phase and have persistent yearning for the deceased, difficulty in accepting the death, a sense of meaninglessness, bitterness about the death and difficulty in engaging in new activities, said lead author Richard A. Bryant of the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. People with these symptoms for at least six months may be diagnosed with Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD), although that is a relatively new diagnosis and still controversial for some psychologists, Bryant said. “At the moment, many doctors are probably treating them with antidepressants but we know this is quite different from depression,” Bryant told Reuters Health.

​  Recognizing and Relieving Persistent and Debilitating Grief.    Grief over the death of a loved one is a normal part of the human experience. However, healthcare providers at Memorial Sloan Kettering and elsewhere increasingly are recognizing that a small subgroup of bereaved individuals experience intense and severe grief that refuses to lift over time. Some studies suggest this may affect as many as one in six people. “These individuals are not only deeply missing their loved one but also often feel stuck in their grief and have difficulty processing their loss as real, despite the passage of time…The trick about grief is that it maintains that connection and lets us know that our loved ones are still part of our world. It can feel like betrayal to let go of the mourning.” - New Research on Complicated Grief and Brain Activity.- New research suggests that people who suffer from complicated grief may have increased activity in the part of the brain that gives emotional "rewards."   In the women with complicated grief, these same pictures also stimulated activity in the nucleus accumbens, which is central to the brain's reward system.  Although it may seem strange that the brain would provide a reward for grieving too much, the researchers offer one possible theory: Constantly thinking about and remembering the deceased is pleasurable—it's a form of addiction to your happy memories—but it also prevents you from letting go.This finding could also help explain why antidepressants have mixed success in treating complicated grief. Complicated Grief. A condition defined as severe and persistent grief. The symptoms of complicated grief include such characteristics as an intense longing for the deceased, a preoccupation with or trouble accepting the finality of the death, difficulty returning to normal or previously shared activities, and a lost sense of purpose. Complicated grief is a serious and potentially debilitating condition. It can impair daily functioning and quality of life and increase the risk of physical or mental illness. Its most worrisome symptom is hopelessness, or a feeling that life is not worth living, raising the chance of suicide. Individuals suffering from depression, anxiety or mood disorders prior to the death, for example, may be more susceptible to the condition, and some research indicates that among those individuals the rate may be as high as one out of every four exposed to an important loss. The type of loss can also raise the risk: for example, the loss of a child may be more likely to trigger complicated grief. The circumstances of a person’s death can also add to the severity of the grief. People may spend a lot of time focusing on the ‘what if’s. Growing research evidence supports that for complicated grief, focused time-limited psychotherapy approaches are effective - Mayo Clinic Complicated Grief - Definition & Symptoms - Complicated Grief can affect the ability to remember, new research has suggested. The study found people suffering in this way can experience difficulty when attempting to recall specific events or when imagining things to come in the future.  Individuals who suffer from complicated grief yearn for the person who has passed away for a protracted length of time and often experience painful emotion - and it was indicated that while these people find it easy to picture their future alongside their partner, they find it difficult to think of it without the deceased. - Prolonged Grief: A New Psychological Disorder? Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD)—previously called Complicated Grief—may soon be a recognized mental disorder. Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston developed and tested standard criteria for identifying the condition, based on the input of a team of experts in bereavement and mood/anxiety disorders. The research was done with widows and widowers but is thought to be applicable to the general population. None of this is to say that grieving is unhealthy or unnatural - Finding Peace in the Midst of Grief - Acceptance, Healing, Thanksgiving. Your feelings of hurt and pain have no plans to last forever - 
Complicated Grief: Yearning For Lost Loved Ones Linked To Altered Thinking About The Future. 
People suffering from complicated grief may have difficulty recalling specific events from their past or imagining specific events in the future, but not when those events involve the partner they lost, according to a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. 

The research also underscores the importance of generating goals and aspirations for the future after the loss of a loved one. According to the researchers, "setting goals and working toward them may be an important component of natural recovery from the disruptive and painful experience of loss." - “Part of what drew me in,” said Dr. Shear, “was that it became apparent that complicated grief grabs some people by their heels and pulls them under so they are drowning in their lives.” She estimates the syndrome afflicts seven percent of the bereaved population. - Country's First Center on Complicated Grief.  Columbia University's School of Social Work is partnering with a Chilean university to launch a grief facility in New York. the goal of the new center, in addition to providing training to medical practitioners, is to “improve the lives of people with complicated grief,” a newly recognized condition that consists of an interrupted healing process following a close personal loss. -  Help For When Grief Gets ‘Complicated’ - 
Complicated’ meaning not complex but that the healing process that normally occurs, after even a sudden and terrible loss, goes somehow awry. It develops a complication, like an infection in a wound. Researchers estimate that about 7 % (Note: Others believe as high as 20%/See article below for June 21, 2012) of bereaved people develop complicated grief...People can ‘get stuck’ in grief for a wide variety of reasons. “It could be a sudden or traumatic loss that is the main reason that one person gets stuck.,” she said. “It could be a prior history of mood or anxiety, or a trauma, or early life loss is another example of what could get someone stuck. It could be how somebody is able to deal with emotions, so someone who’s very, very avoidant of allowing themselves to feel those emotions can get stuck - Grief is often characterized as an emotional roller coaster..But some people feel consistently upset and preoccupied with the person who has passed away, to the point where their relationships and work suffer for months on end. Such a reaction is known as "complicated grief."..They found that "complicated grief" occurs in about 10-20 percent of those who have lost a loved one..fascinating study in which she scanned the brains of women who had all lost a family member to breast cancer... 

It's as if the complicated grievers hadn't quite processed the fact that their mothers or sisters would no longer be in their lives. "They aren't in denial, in that they are fully aware that the person is deceased, and yet on a subconscious level, they haven't integrated that information. At some point the two 'realities' butt up against each other—and this may cause them to suffer.",9171,2042372-1,00.html - New Ways to Think About Grief - By Ruth Davis Konigsberg

Myth No. 4: Grief Never Ends -... In fact, researchers have now identified specific patterns to grief's intensity and duration. And what they have found is that the worst of grief is usually over within about six months.

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2002, Bonanno tracked 205 elderly people whose spouses died, and the largest group — about 45% of the participants — showed no signs of shock, despair, anxiety or intrusive thoughts six months after their loss. That didn't mean they didn't still miss or think about their spouse, but by about half a year after their husband or wife died, they had returned to normal functioning

Only about 15% of the participants in Bonanno's study were still having problems at 18 months. This small minority might be suffering from a syndrome clinicians are starting to call Prolonged Grief Disorder. Most people respond to loss with resilience, which is often mischaracterized as pathological or delayed grief.

It's hard to tell what makes people resilient. "Personality probably predicts only about 10% of resilience," says Bonanno. "Having money helps, having social support helps, having minimal sources of other stress helps, but no one thing is a big predictor." What we do know is that while loss is forever, acute grief is not. - Coping with losing a loved one is one of life's great difficulties. If you have lived through the pain of mourning, you know that any way to ease the loss is welcomed. While our knowledge and study of grief continues to evolve, it's important to note that there are individual patterns of grieving. - Normal Grief, Complicated Grief, and Disenfranchised Grief - Prolonged grief disorder (PGD)refers to a syndrome consisting of a distinct set of symptoms following the death of a loved one that are so prolonged and intense that they exceed the expectably wide range of individual and cultural variability


Crimes against the Grieving  Burglaries happening while grieving families attend funerals. "We recommend placing someone in your home or homes while the funeral or visitation is underway," This scheme starts when thieves read obituaries, which include the date and time of a visitation and funeral, meaning the home of the deceased will most likely be empty during those times. "The thieves may knock on the door first, pretending to ask for directions, or call repeatedly first to ensure it's empty," the release said. "Then they break in and steal everything they can get their hands on." - Don’t let funeral fraud add to the Grief - The Federal Trade Commission enforces what is known as the Funeral Rule, which protects consumers’ rights when it comes to all transactions related to funeral arrangements, ranging from price comparison to memorial services. Not only is this rule not well known among consumers, the FTC found that one in four funeral homes are in violation of this rule. -Protect deceased from ID thieves ..American Association of Retired Persons Bulletin, around 800,000 deceased people a year are the target of identity thieves...criminals troll through obituaries and use the information obtained to open credit card accounts and apply for loans and other fraudulent services...Report the death to Social Security by calling (800) 772-1213 



There Is Healing in the Weeping.  One incredible fact I have recently discovered, is that emotional tears are different to any other tears (there are three different types - reflex, continuous, and emotional). They are created with a chemical in them that makes them unique, so as we release them we are literally releasing the sadness from our bodies. This shows how healthy it is to cry. I hope that people will start to see crying as a sign of strength and not of weakness, as when we are sad, when we are hurting, or when we are grieving, tears are a hugely positive response. They are necessary to help us to heal and become whole again. -
Grieving process: Is crying required? 
Crying is an important part of the grieving process for many people, but a lack of tears doesn't necessarily indicate that the grieving process has gone awry. It's OK if you don't feel like crying. You might simply need time and space to grieve the death in your own way  - Grieving for my brother makes me want to shed some light on why we cry. I’ve been doing a fair bit of crying recently. My younger brother died suddenly, and as a family we have shed many tears at his premature passing. So I thought I would look at the science of crying..Grief of bereavement....evidence of a more fundamental biological role for tears. It seems they contain a substance called nerve growth factor (NGF), the concentration of which increases in tears after the cornea has been damaged; this suggest a healing role for NGF.



Death: How Grief Can Kill or-the-brokenhearted-grief-can-lead-to-death-2/ - Rice University - For the brokenhearted, grief can lead to death. The researchers discovered that widows and widowers with elevated grief symptoms suffered up to 17 percent higher levels of bodily inflammation. And people in the top one-third of that group had a 53.4 percent higher level of inflammation than the bottom one-third of the group who did exhibit those symptoms.
“Previous research has shown that inflammation contributes to almost every disease in older adulthood,” Fagundes said. “We also know that depression is linked to higher levels of inflammation, and those who lose a spouse are at considerably higher risk of major depression, heart attack, stroke and premature mortality. However, this is the first study to confirm that grief — regardless of people’s levels of depressive symptoms — can promote inflammation, which in turn can cause negative health outcomes.”  Study finds bereaved can be physically damaged by grief.  Scans by UCLA scientists have found that the part of the brain that deals with physical pain, the anterior cingulate cortex, also processes emotional pain...But while the brain first registers grief, it's the heart that feels its effects, says Derek Connolly, consultant cardiologist at Birmingham City Hospital..A 2012 Harvard study published in the journal Circulation found a person's risk of having a heart attack increased 21 times over in the day immediately following the death of a loved one and six times over in the following week 
Research Suggests You Can Literally Die From A Broken Heart. 
Recent studies in Denmark and the United States have shown that mothers of children who have died face a much higher risk of dying themselves in the years immediately following the child’s death. In the United States, in the two years following the death of a child, the odds of the mother dying increased to more than three times those of mothers whose children survived. A similar trend has been found among those who lose their spouses; several studies of men and women in the year or so following the death of a spouse show higher than expected death rates, with much of the increase due to heart disease.  According to the study of 30,000 Britons, you really CAN die of a broken heart: Losing a loved one doubles the risk of heart failure or stroke. The risk of a heart attack is highest in the first month after a bereavement. The risk declines slowly during the first year after this. Stress caused by bereavement has immediate health effects, Loss of sleep and appetite can depress the immune system of surviving loved ones, which may aggravate existing underlying medical conditions. The study used data from UK general practices on 30,000 bereaved patients aged 60 to 89. The results were compared with those for 84,000 individuals whose partners were still alive during the same period -Unexpected Grief May Hasten Mortality of Bereaved.
According to the results of a recent study, the circumstances surrounding the death can have an even bigger impact on Grief, and can even increase the risk of mortality for the bereaved. Sunil M. Shah, MBBS, of the Division of Population Health Sciences and Education at St. George’s University of London, recently led a study that looked at how losing a loved one unexpectedly compared to expectedly affected mortality. Shah evaluated the records of over 170,000 couples over the age of 60 and looked at death from chronic illness versus unexpected death and how these deaths impacted the risk of mortality on the surviving partner in the first 12 months following the death. The results revealed that partners who had lost their loved one unexpectedly were more likely to die in the first year following their loss than those who lost loved ones to a chronic illness - Unresolved grief can be hidden health risk. 
“Loss creates injury..It is a new risk factor for poor health in the public sphere..suspects grief is behind much of the nation’s obesity, depression, diabetes, smoking and hospitalization..When you study caregiving, you know (grief) kills people”. Key to seek help and support from friends, physicians, spiritual leaders or mental health professionals. -
Unresolved grief can be hidden health risk. "Grief kills people" - Grief is a risk factor that can contribute to other health problems. Whether you lose a loved one to disease, war, or a natural disaster like the tornado that tore apart Moore, Okla., last week, grief is the unwanted visitor that comes knocking at your door..many of us who need help to bounce back are not getting it, health experts warn, jeopardizing our mental and physical health. Toni Miles, director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia, is embarking on a research project to find out how loss impacts health and what to do about it. Miles suspects grief is behind much of the nation's obesity, depression, diabetes, smoking and hospitalization. "Loss creates injury..When you study caregiving, you know (grief) kills people,'' Miles says. - How broken heart syndrome PROTECTS the grief-stricken from dying. Around two per cent of people thought to have had a heart attack are diagnosed with the syndrome. It gives the heart a 'balloon-like' appearance but symptoms go after two weeks - Grief may trigger Heart Attacks.   A new study of nearly 2,000 heart-attack survivors found that attacks were far more likely to happen soon after the death of a family member or close friend than at other times. And the risk of having a heart attack appears to decline as grief subsides


Disabilities & Grief

​ ​"Managing Grief Better: People With Intellectual DISABILITIES" - People with disabilities have a right to participate fully in the grief and mourning process and in all of society's support systems and rituals associated with these losses...Be honest, include and involve; Listen - be there; Actively seek out nonverbal rituals; Respect photos and other momentoes; minimize change; Avoid assessment ; Assist searching behavior; Support the observance of anniversaries. It is important to make referrals, especially mental health referrals, as soon as any serious grief reactions are noted, such as aggressive behavior, persistent irritability, mutism, loss of skills, inappropriate speech (i.e., asking "where is Dad?" all the time), self-injury, tearfulness and absconding. -Grief Responses of Older Adults With Dementia, Alzheimer’s (Research, Hospice Story) - Dementia can have a profound effect on how someone responds to the death of a loved one. Each person with dementia is unique with a response cloaked in a lack of memory layer different from someone without dementia. Should the person with dementia be told about the death?2)   How should the person be told? 3)   How will the person’s response impact the family?



Eating Disorders & Food -Eating disorder and Grief - “I have no idea why my grief manifested into an eating disorder, but it did..For the rest of my teens, all of my twenties and part of my thirties, I obsessed about food and my body. I was anxious about what I had eaten, was eating, or would be eating and it was unbearable. I judged my self-worth on what I weighed"  - 
Can food help us cope with Grief? 
After the death of someone close, food can seem unimportant. Grieving can make us lose our appetite and the motivation to cook, but food can also play an important healing role in remembering those who have gone. - Grief, Stress and Your Adrenals..Grief can do funny things in your body
For example, when grieving, individuals may eat more than usual or, alternatively, lose their appetites..When you're reacting to stress, the last thing you should do is eat because it diverts blood flow toward the stomach and away from the lower half of our body..How long you remain in the acute stress response is another matter, and is unique to each individual:..


Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) - EAGALA is the leading international nonprofit association for professionals using equine therapy to address mental health and human development needs.  Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning.  It is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals.  Because of its intensity and effectiveness, it is considered a short-term, or "brief" approach. EAP is experiential in nature.

Grief Brain

"When you’re grieving, a flood of neurochemicals and hormones dance around in your head.

“There can be a disruption in hormones that results in specific symptoms,

such as disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, fatigue and anxiety,” says Dr. Phillips.
When those symptoms converge, your brain function takes a hit.

After all, if you’re overwhelmed with grief,

it stands to reason that you won’t absorb your environment the same way you would when you’re content.

Grief Brain Remedies - Unfortunately, there’s no magic tonic that can restore your ability to function when you’re overcome with emotion.

But, the following strategies may help you feel more peaceful as you find your way to a new normal:

Practice self-care, Take Time Out, Challenge negative thought patterns, get support..."

"Before and After Loss: A Neurologist’s Perspective on Loss, Grief and the Brain.

As a practicing neurologist, I thought I was prepared.

But instead, I struggled.

It took many months until I had a flash of insight- for the first time I saw my experience through the eyes of a neurologist.

I realized that the problem wasn’t sorrow,

it was a fog of confusion, disorientation, and delusions of magical thinking.

For people experiencing loss, I believe demystifying the experience is an important step toward healing.

When we think about brain trauma, we usually think about physical injury.

It wasn’t so long ago, that concussions (brief alterations of consciousness after a blow to the head) were considered harmless; athletes were routinely returned to the field after they appeared to recover from being dazed or unconscious

But we now understand that the emotional trauma of loss has profound effects on the mind, brain, and body.

We now understand that although no injury is seen on MRI or CT scans of the brain, brain injury has occurred.

In the same way, the emotional trauma of loss results in serious changes in brain function that endure.

So the brain is especially active in managing the stress of traumatic loss.

Recovery depends upon gradually reconnecting with suppressed memories- the emotions and memories that we’re not ready to face. Disturbing dreams by night and intrusive thoughts by day are evidence of traumatic memories that are buried in the subconscious, and were never properly integrated with past memories and emotions, our previous life experience.

To move forward, we need to find tools that will help us reconnect with suppressed memories. 

Equally important is the need to find activities that are diverting to refresh the mind.

Tools for reconnection may include journaling, faith-based practices, meditation, and seeing a counselor.

Keeping a dream journal may gradually uncover repetitive themes. Mysterious at first- over time the symbols in our dreams begin to reveal themselves. For refreshment, try creative practices (art, music, dance) and the healing powers of the outdoors.Even in the worst of times, it’s empowering to understand the basis for our experience of loss and to learn steps we can take to enhance recovery and healing."

GriefTech Sharing loss of a loved one on social media impacts grieving process, researcher finds. Using Facebook when grieving for a family member or close friend may prevent people from coming to terms with the death, a researcher has found.  ​Individuals who participated in some form of online grief expression on Facebook had higher anxiety and stress​. 



Health -

Grief and CVD: Simple Regimen May Lower Risk.
Bereavement poses unique stresses on the heart. Six weeks of low-dose metoprolol and aspirin may help prevent CV events. low-dose beta-blocker and aspirin regimen may buffer some of the physiologic stress of losing a loved one that puts newly grieving individuals at risk for cardiovascular events, Australian researchers suggest.
Among people mourning the loss of a spouse or child, taking the combination therapy for 6 weeks resulted in lower morning systolic BP compared with placebo. The intervention group also had lower 24-hour heart rate and less anxiety and depression. No major adverse effects of the regimen were seen
. - How Grief Can Make You Sick. The loss of a loved one can impact survivors’ mental and physical health. Grief and Exhaustion. Difficulty Thinking Clearly. Sense of Being Alone. Depression and Substance Abuse. Heart Health and Immunity. 
- “Sometimes remembering things as simple as eating well and drinking water can improve a person's quality of life. Even getting 20 minutes of sunshine outside can help.” 
- “My coping methods have been writing, letting myself feel my feelings, and connecting with others who are hurting,” - Grief, Loneliness, and Losing a Spouse. As research studies have demonstrated, spousal bereavement is a major source of life stress that often leaves people vulnerable to later problems, including depression, chronic stress, and reduced life expectancy. Anti-depressant medication may be useful as a short-term solution for emotional distress but it's hardly an effective way of dealing with the loneliness that is the real cause of that distress.  Supportive counseling and short-term cognitive-behavioural therapy are probably better treatment options for people coping with grief. Overcoming grief and loneliness are special challenges that many seniors face, particularly those seniors who have lost a spouse.  Whether they are able to move on afterward depends on their own inner resources as well the kind of support they receive from friends and family.  For those widowed seniors having a particularly hard time coping, treatment counseling represents a useful way of getting their lives back on track.
Medical knowledge suggests that our bodies already know what our words have long implied: that grief can, quite literally, sicken. And now, new research may shed a little more light on part of the reason why. A study recently published in the journal Ageing and Immunity ( )found that among the elderly, in particular, the recent loss of a loved one may leave a person more vulnerable to infectious diseases. How to Survive Early Grief. Grief erupts into your life, rearranging everything. It's not an ordinary time, and ordinary rules do not apply:  Safety First,  Drink Water,  Move (Walk, Run, Hike, Yoga, Swim, Movement), Get Outside, Tend Something, Read, Shower, Eat.." Grief: Coping with reminders after a loss. Grief doesn't magically end at a certain point after a loved one's death. Reminders often bring back the pain of loss. Here's help coping — and healing.  What to expect when grief returns. Anniversary reactions can last for days at a time or — in more extreme cases — much longer. During an anniversary reaction you might experience:
•Trouble sleeping
Anniversary reactions can also evoke powerful memories of the feelings and events surrounding your loved one's death. For example, you might remember in great detail where you were and what you were doing when your loved one died. - When the Worst Possible Thing Happens: Grief Cures Anxiety. Can grief be an antidote to anxiety? Can real pain innoculate an anxious mind? - Helping Your Grieving Parent. How can you comfort your surviving parent while dealing with your own loss? You can help by: Listening to him and encouraging him to talk about your mother, Patiently allowing him to express his grief, acknowledging important dates and anniversaries - Grief and Your Health – How to Cope and Stay Well. There are some things you can do to stay healthy, deal with your grief and your anger, and help yourself suffer the loss gracefully.  Here are some helpful tips: 1. Know the symptoms, seek medical care. 2. Don’t hold in your emotions. 3. Sleep. 4.  Protect your immune system. 5.  Seek counseling. - 7 Ways to Help a Loved One Grieve. No need for profound advice. Experts say simply being present is most helpful: Listen more than you talk, Watch your words carefully, Offer your help, Check in weeks and months later. -Disenfranchised Grief - "The other woman". He was in the process of moving out, but passed away in bed one night. Grief is like a fingerprint. Each grief is unique, and yet we all know loss.  mourning alone. His family does not realize how much he loved her, or she him. This was someone she was planning to spend her life with. She asks me, "How do I move forward without knowing how he died, or being able to participate in any of the rituals that go with death...funeral, burial, support of family and friends?" -
Stress-reducing foods. Stress management can be a powerful tool for wellness. Although there are many ways to cope, one strategy is to eat stress-fighting foods: Complex Carbs like warm oatmeal, whole-grain breakfast cereals, breads, and pastas. Others includeOranges, spinach or green leafy vegetables,cooked soybeans, a filet of salmon or tuna, black tea, pistachios, walnuts, or almonds, avocado/guacamole, crunchy carrot sticks, celery,skim or low-fat milk at bed time, and exercise. - 8 Faces of Grief:Abbreviated; Absent; Ambiguous; Anticipatory; Chronic; Complicated/Traumatic; Delayed, and Disenfranchised. Whatever your own experience of grief is, it is important that you find ways to express it so that you don’t become stuck. Journaling, drawing and talking about your experience are just some ways of processing grief. If you find yourself stuck, and your physical or mental health is declining, it is important to seek out a counselor who can help you process your experience - Using Grief as an Inspiration to Help Others. Grief from trauma, whether it is after the passing of a loved one from a terminal illness, abuse, neglect, or other experience, a great healer is volunteering to help those who are where you have been.  Some of the best and most effective volunteers are those who can empathize with people in the trenches today.  You know their fear, their hopes, their sadness, and most importantly their needs. - Rural health professionals' perspectives on providing grief and loss support in cancer care. Research demonstrates considerable inequalities in service delivery and health outcomes for people with cancer living outside large metropolitan cities. - How Does Grief Affect the Family? The family as a whole is impacted by the death. Roles, traditions and daily routines all change, as family members work to discover how they all fit together in light of the hole now in their midst. The family as a whole, like each individual in it, must work to discover what their "new normal" is.  Roles Change, TRADITIONS Change, Daily Routines Change. - Good Grief. Turn Bad Times into Good Opportunities. Recognize that times of grief are not the time to play superhero. You won’t be able to function at your best, so accept all the help you can get. Even if it doesn’t seem to really help much, it will make the people around you feel better, and that will take a lot of stress out of the situation. - No Map for Grieving, and Sometimes Help is Needed - Grieving the loss of a loved one can't be planned or mapped. At one time, the belief was that grief occurred in a set pattern of five stages. It's now known to be more complicated. In the early days after a significant loss, many people say they feel numb. As numbness wears off, people often experience more intense and painful feelings of loss. Physical symptoms may arise that include upset stomach, loss of appetite, chest tightness, trouble sleeping, exhaustion and difficulty breathing. For weeks and months, waves of distress may occur that can include restlessness, anxiety and anger. In time, this normal process subsides and letting go begins. - Grief & Your Health - Things to remember:

Losing a loved one to death can be a shattering event that affects you emotionally, physically and spiritually.
There is no single, correct way to grieve. Misunderstandings about the grieving experience can cause difficulties for the bereaved person and others in their life.
Grief is a process and not an event – most people will continue to grieve in subtle ways for the rest of their lives, but will still be able to return to some sense of normality.
Children and teenagers typically have different ways of coping from those used by adults.
Grief can weaken our immune system – if we don’t take care of ourselves we can become ill.

The experience of grief can sometimes feel like a storm. A person may feel that the storm has passed, but then be surprised when the next storm strikes. These sudden temporary upsurges (Grief Attacks) in the grief storm can be particularly strong when there is an anniversary of the death (such as the date of the death or funeral) or when memories are triggered (for example, by a piece of music or a particular smell).. Different grieving styles..A wide range of reactions to grief..Grief and physical illness...Coping strategies for grief - Moving through Grief in tumultuous times. 
We are moving through some very challenging times that are requiring us to sometimes move through a great deal of Grief.We live in a culture where expressing grief is often not honored in meaningful ways over the longterm..1. Take one day at a time, doing one thing at a time..2. Let go of the idea of “normalcy.”..4. Exercise as much and as often as you can..7. Sleep when you can or need to. You may become exhausted at times. - Managing Grief Video from the University of Wisconsin  Health - Video discusses the feelings of loss and grief, and offers an exercise for helping to recognize the feelings and begin to cope with them. While everyone will offer timelines for experiencing grief, whether it is three days or a few months, the reality is, grief has its own timeline and there is no time limit on how and when individuals will, or should, experience it. Learning to treat our grief with patience and kindness offers us a chance to find a deeper understanding in our own life and for the lives of others. - Grief, Men & Depression. Depression in men linked to folic acid deficiency. (NaturalNews) Men who do not get enough folic acid in their diets may be more susceptible to depression, studies have shown. Folic acid is the dietary form of vitamin B9 and is found primarily in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, beans and other legumes, liver, and yeast (including homebrewed alcohol and live yeast cultures). More recent studies have indicated, however, that vitamin B9 may actually only have a significant effect on mood in men, not in women. - Kate Freer, Yahoo! Contributor Network - How Grief Affects Health: The Immune System: It has been shown that after the loss of a loved one, the immune system is compromised. The white cell count may be lowered increasing the risk for colds, flu, and cancer. Cancer Risks: Grief impacts the immune system which leaves an open door for cancer and disease to take hold. The risk for the development of cancer in grief is high

Takotsubo syndrome or Broken Heart Syndrome; Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart failure caused by grief or stress where the left ventricle balloons out taking on an unusual shape like a Japanese fishing pot. The symptoms are the same as a heart attack but an electrocardiogram does not always show the problem. You experience chest pain, shortness of breath, arm pain, and sweating as in a classic heart attack but its different

Depression: Depression is part of the grief process. This grief causes a dark sadness, insomnia, lack of appetite, and weight loss. It is considered part of the normal process of healing. After months if the person does not heal, it can become permanent

Grief Help and Support: If you are suffering the loss of a loved one, you need to deal with that grief. You need to let go of the pain. There are grief groups that are very beneficial to help you heal. You have the support of others who have gone through what you are experiencing. They understand the pain and loss you are feeling. They may be able to help you express it and learn to live again. In these groups you don't have to talk about your loss but just get comfort from those around you who feel your pain.



Holidays - Coping with Grief during the Holiday Season. "Coping with Grief at Christmas" - 1. Don’t put excessive expectations on yourself. Don’t expect the holidays to be the same. 2. Rest. Cut down the Christmas clutter and just get away from the typical, if possible.3. Rearrange furniture to reduce “absence” reminders. 4. Avoid sugar highs and lows because they naturally induce emotional lows. Also, steer clear of overeating and under-sleeping. Eat well-balanced diets.5. Admit grief.Trying to move forward while denying the reality of grief causes one to fall face forward. Give yourself permission to cry, and more suggestions at the site where the article was featured - link provided above.



Humor The Clinical Role of Humor in the Grief Process.  With the introduction of laughter groups and laughter yoga to such distinguished medical facilities as the Mayo Clinic and Cancer Treatment Centers, the use of humor as a therapeutic tool is beginning to emerge. Study concluded that humor could play a very significant role in the grief process by improving the therapeutic alliance, assessing the client’s recovery and acting as a tool for self‐care on the part of the therapist.



ICU Deaths

ICU Deaths were associated with a heightened Risk of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -  Parents bereaved by Infant Death:   PTSD symptoms can be present up to 18 years after the loss 
ICU Death Research.  Mount Sinai doctors in New York show that when a loved one dies in the ICU, the survivors have a risk of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, she said, people who are newly bereaved are more likely to need hospitalization during the year after the loss.  Duke University researchers have already proven that loss of a spouse increases your own short-term risk of dying. - The Invisible Epidemic: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Memory and the Brain


Marriage -  
10 Ways to Protect Your Marriage Through Loss and Grief. 
Acknowledge You Both Grieve Differently. Remind each other it's ok to smile. Don't place blame, and... - Being Stoic for the Spouse's Sake Comes at a High Cost.  Among life's many tragedies, the death of a child... No matter what the age of the child or the cause of death, the irrefutable fact of the loss is one that shatters the normal cycle of life, leaving parents traumatized and often incapacitated by grief.  New Study..."While parents seek to protect their partners through POSR, this effort has the opposite effect, and it is associated with worse adjustment over time. Surprisingly, our results suggest hat POSR has costs, not benefits, and not only for the partner but also for the self."



Medical Schools/Hospitals - How Grief Impacts Physicians. When patients die, physicians experience occasional sadness, crying, loss of sleep, and sometimes feel remorse (intertwined with introspection) about past clinical decisions. The study found other powerful emotions after a patient’s death (among the interviewed oncologists) included: powerlessness, self-doubt, guilt, and a sense of failure.‘Not only do doctors experience grief, but the professional taboo on the emotion also has negative consequences for the doctors themselves, as well as for the quality of care they provide’. The study reports the result is (and we quote): ‘fewer visits in the hospital, fewer bedside visits, and less overall energy expended toward the dying patient’.  –  When Doctors Grief.  Do doctors grieve when their patients die? In the medical profession, such grief is seldom discussed — except, perhaps, as an example of the sort of emotion that a skilled doctor avoids feeling. But in a paper published on Tuesday in Archives of Internal Medicine (and in a forthcoming paper in the journal Death Studies), my colleagues and I report what we found in our research about oncologists and patient loss: Not only do doctors experience grief, but the professional taboo on the emotion also has negative consequences for the doctors themselves, as well as for the quality of care they provide. - April 2018 -

Harvard Medical School - Harvard Health Publishing - The deaths of friends and family members become more common as you age. Here is how to endure the grieving process. "Grief is a natural response to loss, but it is something that men are not prepared for, and they often struggle to understand how it can affect their lives," Doctors classify grief into two types: acute and persistent. Most people experience acute grief, which occurs in the first six to 12 months after a loss and gradually resolves. Some, however, experience persistent grief, which is defined as grief that lasts longer than 12 months. Coping with Grief:

- Take up yoga, tai chi, or qigong...

- Maintain a healthy diet...

- Follow good sleep hygiene..

​- Get moving..

​- Keep tabs on your health..

- Take on new responsibilities..

- Reach out to your social circle



Medicine or Faith  - Is faith or medicine the best solution for grief? Each year 90,000 parents in the US confront the profound suffering that follows the death of a child or adolescent. Some of those rely on faith to help them through their grief. Others look to psychiatrists, who offer therapy or prescribe antidepressants to help ease their pain. -Grief, Healing, and the One-To-Two Year Myth.  Living as we do in a culture having no tolerance for pain of any kind — especially the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual agony of grief — it’s no wonder that people who are Grieving feel abnormal when they can’t stop their pain.People in protest may try to avoid any evidence that contributes to acknowledging the painful reality of this loss. “The only way through it is through it.” Medication doesn’t make the pain of grief go away. Clients need to understand this important point. - Spiritual Health.Good Grief: 5 ways your mourning can glorify God - 1. Resist the temptation to be angry at God. 2. Rest in God’s sovereignty. 3. Realize that it’s good to grieve.Grief is not a disease that needs to be cured. Grief is the treatment, grief is the cure! 4. Rejoice in the hope of reuniting. 5. Reach out to others. 


Mental Health

Disturbed Sleeps Derails Therapy for Complicated Grief.

The benefits of cognitive grief treatment (CGT),

the gold standard treatment for complicated grief,

significantly exceed those of antidepressant monotherapy,

but sleep disturbances can derail CGT's effects, new research shows. -

An open trial of "meaning-centered" grief therapy: Rationale and preliminary evaluation.

Objective: To determine the preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and effects of Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy (MCGT)

for parents who lost a child to cancer.

preliminary data suggest that this 16-session, manualized cognitive-behavioral-existential intervention is feasible, acceptable, and associated with transdiagnostic improvements in psychological functioning among parents who have lost a child to cancer. - Soar thru your grief. 1. Honor your grief and explore it. 2. Create a trusted soul support squad. 3. Transform your pain to purpose. 4. Lastly, take this time to go inward and refine your desires and goals. Grieving is a process: take it day by day and moment by moment. - Dealing with Loss and Grief: Be Good to Yourself While You Heal - Grief and Mourning in Schizophrenia: A Safety Plan - Grief:how mental illness complicates family grieving. Grieving for families dealing with mental illness and its various consequences can be an intensified experience. It can encompass guilt, love, resentment, anxiety and fear. - Grief is agony, but let’s not call it a mental illness.  In America, the bereaved may now be diagnosed with depression. Experts here are appalled, says Anna Maxted. Other people are useless around grief, as I soon discovered after my father died. My favourite comment, from a friend to my widowed mother, was: “I know exactly how you feel. My husband’s in South Africa for three weeks.” No one knew how we felt — or, frankly, wanted to know — lost in a fog of disbelief, fear and such violent, eviscerating pain that, for quite a time, it was hard to see the point of going on. - Men in Grief Seek Others Who Mourn as They Do. Research increasingly suggests that men and women experience grief in different ways, and the realization has bolstered a nascent movement of bereavement groups geared to men throughout the country. Concern about reaching men in grief has gained new urgency with shifting demographics. The number of men age 65 and older increased by 21 percent from 2000 to 2010, nearly double the 11.2 percent growth rate for women in that age group, according to census figures - Why Some people don't grieve.


Grief counselling: more harm than good? - Conventional grief counseling may not be helpful and "might actually be hurtful," says Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, a psychiatry professor at the University of British Columbia. "School boards, colleges and corporations make a public show of summoning grief counsellors to reassure the public rather than to comfort the grief-stricken". A study published just days before the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York showed that the 9,000 therapists who swarmed the city did little to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological problems..reliving the trauma is now being questioned as a means of therapy..a new form of counseling he calls psychological first aid: emphasizes giving victims enough space to deal with trauma on their own terms rather than making them endure the scripted line of questioning prescribed under previous method. -  Mourning the Death of a Spouse - When your spouse dies, your world changes. You are in mourning—feeling grief and sorrow at the loss. You may feel numb, shocked, and fearful. You may feel guilty for being the one who is still alive. If your spouse died in a nursing home, you may wish that you had been able to care for him or her at home. At some point, you may even feel angry at your spouse for leaving you. All these feelings are normal. There are no rules about how you should feel. There is no right or wrong way to mourn.

 When you grieve, you can feel both physical and emotional pain. People who are grieving often cry easily and can have:
• Trouble sleeping
• Little interest in food
• Problems with concentration
• A hard time making decisions
For some people, mourning can go on so long that it becomes unhealthy. This can be a sign of serious depression and anxiety. If your sadness stays with you and keeps you from carrying on with your day-to-day life, talk to your doctor.

What Can You Do?   Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

 •Take care of yourself. Grief can be hard on your health. Try to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Bad habits, such as drinking too much alcohol or smoking, can put your health at risk. Be sure to take your medicines as your doctor ordered. Remember to see the doctor for your usual visits.

•Talk to caring friends. Let your family and friends know when you want to talk about your husband or wife. It may help to be with people who let you say what you're feeling.

•Join a grief support group. Sometimes it helps to talk to people who are also grieving. Check with hospitals, religious groups, and local agencies to find out about support groups.

•Try not to make any major changes right away. It's a good idea to wait for a while before making big decisions like moving or changing jobs.

•See your doctor. If you're having trouble taking care of your everyday activities, like getting dressed or fixing meals, talk to your doctor

•Don't think you have to handle your grief alone. Sometimes short-term talk therapy with a counselor can help.

•Remember your children are grieving, too. You may find that your relationship with your children has changed. It will take time for the whole family to adjust to life without your spouse.

•Remember—mourning takes time. It's common to have rollercoaster emotions for a while

Taking Charge of Your Life - After years of being part of a couple, it can be upsetting to be alone. Many people find it helps to have things to do every day. Write down your weekly plans. You might:

 • Take a walk with a friend.
• Go to the library to check out books.
• Volunteer at a local school as a tutor or playground aide.
• Join a community exercise class or a senior swim group.
• Be part of a chorus.
• Meet with old friends.
• Sign up for bingo or bridge at a nearby recreation center.
• Think about a part-time job.
• Join a bowling league or a sewing group.
• Offer to watch your grandchildren or a neighbor's child.
• Consider adopting a pet.

Some widowed people lose interest in cooking and eating. It may help to have lunch with friends at a senior center or cafeteria. Sometimes eating at home by yourself feels too quiet. Just turning on a radio or TV during meals can help. For information on nutrition and cooking for one, look for helpful books at your local library or bookstore.


Music Sad Music Can Have Beneficial Emotional Effects Study Finds. The conundrum puzzled two researchers at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany who set out to explore our affinity for sad songs in a world where entire industries exist to help us eliminate sadness from our lives. Their study— based on a survey of more than 770 people around the world and published this month in the journal, PLOS ONE — discovered sad music can evoke positive emotions, like peacefulness and tenderness, and offers four distinct rewards for choosing that weepy ballad on your iPod. The biggest reward turned out to be that sad songs allow you to feel sadness without any of its “real-life implications.” In other words, you can safely explore what it’s like to be a little blue without experiencing the intense grief of mourning a loved one, for example.,0,3741318.column#axzz2whSbT9So When words fail, grieving children can find an outlet in music.  "With grief, the pain is sometimes so deep it hurts too much for kids to talk about what they feel,..Music breaks down their defenses." It helps counselors create a safe space to address the anger, confusion and fear that loss generates in young lives. - 
Music and its Impact on the Grieving.  
Music, however, does come with a health warning when one is grieving. Along with its ability to lift me up when I am feeling low, it also has the ability to bring me right back down on a day when I have successfully managed to distract myself from my feelings until that point. For me, it is hard to hear now, and I hope that in time it will just form one of my many fond memories again. Christmas music aside (and I actually wouldn't be without it, even now), I think music generally has a very positive part to play in helping me to deal with my grief. In the words of Johnny Depp, "Music can open up so many emotions that we didn't know we had." Scary though it is to face the emotions involved in moving through the grieving process, that is what I must do, if I am to emerge the other side in one piece. I wonder if Adele and Scouting for Girls know what an important role they have to play in helping me, and, presumably, many others like me, through this tricky time.



Pets - Pets Help When Grieving. When Grieving it is often hard to get up in the morning. Pets may help with that and feelings of loneliness. - The Psychology of Grieving your Pet... Well-meaning friends and family may question the seriousness of grief that some experience following the loss of a pet. They may believe that while some level of grief is warranted, it should be a kind of reduced or secondary grief..The human psyche can’t differentiate between the kinds of loss that we face,” says Bragg. “Whether it is divorce, your mother’s death, or any other kind of loss, our minds process it the same way, through grief.”  Once pet bereavement is understood as beingpsychologically equivalent to other types of loss, pet owners should know that grief is expected and should follow the same course. - Do Animals Mourn? Evidence shows that humans aren't the only creatures to grieve the passing of a loved one.(Our Family Pets) 




ttp://  Harvard Research:  Engaging in Rituals mitigates Grief by Restoring the feelings of Control that are impaired by both life-changing (the death of loved ones) and more mundane (losing lotteries) losses. Participants who were directed to reflect on past rituals or who were assigned to complete novel rituals after experiencing losses reported lower levels of grief. 

Increased feelings of control after rituals mediated the link between use of rituals and reduced grief after losses, and the benefits of rituals accrued not only to individuals who professed a belief in rituals’ effectiveness but also to those who did not. Although the specific rituals in which people engage after losses vary widely by culture and religion.,0,693294.story - A New American Way of Death.  A cremation rate that was less than 5% is now approaching 50%. And although most cultures weave fire and its metaphors of purification, illumination and release into the ritual and religious dynamics of death, and treat cremation as an alternative to earth burial, our culture has come to view cremation, with its industrial and cost efficiencies, more often as an alternative to bother. By getting the dead where they need to go, the living get where they need to be, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, existentially. - Freedom to Grieve. Sometimes, well-meaning individuals want to go into a Grieving person’s home and clean out things that they think will bring too much pain or, from their perspective, do chores that “should just be done.” STOP. Don’t do it. Do not put anything away unless you have permission from the people most directly connected. 



Siblings -Sibling Death Increases Survivor's Cardiac Risk. A recent study looked at the heart-health impact of losing an adult sibling. Learn how to take care of yourself after the loss of a loved one...research from the Journal of the American Heart Association shows that adults have a higher risk of having a fatal heart attack years after a sibling’s death. 


Social Media - 
What role can social media presences play in the grieving process? 
We currently live in an age where a person's presence, be that digitally, never "dies" so to speak. We've seen memorial walls spring up on Facebook and Twitter, and profiles of the deceased that are never deleted. What role can social media presences play in the grieving process? Do you believe they are helpful or harmful to moving on? -Societal Expectations Help Shape Grief. New research suggests the way society relates to people who have suffered a loss is important to the way the grieving process is managed.  “From studies we’ve conducted on people that suffered personal losses, we found that the length of time it takes for them to return to a regular routine is about 5 years,”.. "study participants didn’t ascribe any importance to the length of time that had passed since the loss occurred"..“Finding meaning in the life of those who have died is a very important component.." - Communal Bereavement. Two public-health researchers, Ralph Catalano and Terry Hartig, believe it can. They have introduced a term -- communal bereavement'' -- for what they call ''the widespread experience of distress among persons who never met the deceased.''


Substance Abuse - Grief and Substance Abuse – Coping after a Loss. Each person who goes through the grieving process does it in his or her unique way. Some, however, will turn to alcohol or drugs in a desperate attempt to numb the intense pain, sadness, and grief that so often follow a major loss.  Unfortunately, for some, self-medicating emotional pain can lead to the development of a full-blown alcohol or drug addiction.


Suicide - March 27, 2018 - Therapy Best Treatment for Complicated Grief Due to Suicide. Complicated grief (CG) due to suicide is better treated with grief-oriented therapy than with medication, new research shows.  Bereavement by suicide as a risk factor for suicide attempt - Findings:  Adults bereaved by suicide had a higher probability of attempting suicide (adjusted OR (AOR)=1.65; 95% CI 1.12 to 2.42; p=0.012) than those bereaved by sudden natural causes. There was no such increased risk in adults bereaved by sudden unnatural causes. There were no group differences in probability of suicidal ideation. The effect of suicide bereavement was similar whether bereaved participants were blood-related to the deceased or not.  Conclusions: Bereavement by suicide is a specific risk factor for suicide attempt among young bereaved adults, whether related to the deceased or not. Suicide risk assessment of young adults should involve screening for a history of suicide in blood relatives, non-blood relatives and friends The Description Of Grief That Changed Everything For Madonna Badger. After Her Enormous Loss (VIDEO).  After former advertising agency owner Madonna Badger tragically lost her 2 parents and 3 Daughters in a Christmas Day house fire in 2011, her grief was immeasurable. There were days when Badger couldn't get out of bed, she fluctuated between manic and catatonically depressed, she made a "suicide gesture" in which she threatened to swallow a handful of pills and she was committed to a psychiatric hospital shortly after her daughters' funeral. After struggling with her Grief at the hospital, Badger moved to Arkansas to live with a friend and ended up going to the University of Arkansas' Psychiatric Research Institute. That's when everything began to change. - 
Grief grows when truth is hidden. 
When I finally discovered, at age 32, that my brother had committed suicide, I felt intense shock and then shame – shame for not knowing, as if I should have known. Conversely, I also felt ashamed for finally knowing the truth about how he died. After all, the message I had received was that I shouldn't know. There was also another emotion: guilt. "Survivor guilt" is very common when a traumatic event happens in childhood over which the child has no control. When there is no way to process or understand the situation, the resulting lack of control, ironically, leaves a child feeling as if they are responsible. When there is a "no -talk" rule combined with a denial around feelings, especially strong feelings such as grief, then the result is shame. - Assisted Suicide Can Incite Feelings of Moral Conflict, Isolation, Secrecy in Grieving Relatives. Three trends stand out in the grieving process before and after a loved one commits suicide with a physician's assistance, a new study of families in Switzerland suggests.The survivors may feel morally conflicted about the decision, prefer to maintain secrecy about the suicide and, often as a consequence, they feel isolated from their friends and families. Healthcare professionals should be aware of these issues, and the management of assisted suicide should include provisions for family members, the researchers say. Switzerland is one of a handful of countries and states in which physician-assisted suicide is not prosecuted. In the United States, it is legal in the states of Montana, Oregon, Washington and Vermont. - 
Suicide rates increase in U.S. Statistics show suicides have been steadily increasing for the last decade. 
“It can have ripple effects in the person’s life around all those loved ones that they just don’t realize the effect it has when they leave".."Grief is never really simple, but when its complicated by something like suicide, then it can go on and remain unresolved for years,” said Robert Myers of the Survivor of Suicide Loss support group. - Suicides on the Rise for Aging Boomers . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a sad and troubling report today. Suicide deaths rose fairly dramatically, across the entire country, for all age groups, but especially for aging does not analyze why. Among men, the greatest increases were among those aged 50–54 years and 55–59 years.  Among women, suicide rates increased with age, and the largest percentage increase in suicide rate was observed among women aged 60–64 years. - Suicide's victim girlfriend finds rigorous/structured fitness program helps her through her Grief. She did the workout in the months before the death of her boyfriend Chris Spencer in October — and she returned to it two weeks after his apparent heroin overdose. “I’m a firm believer in that connection between physical and mental strength.  It has helped me to have that clarity and commitment and dedication to my health, in terms of the grief process. “Just like when there is a super challenging CrossFit workout, where you think there is no way you will get through it, but then you do, grief works that way too. You do survive and it’s powerful. I’ve been able to leverage the same tools and mindset that I use to complete tough workouts as I cycle through the Grief process


Workplace Life after death: one scholar’s advice on developing a ‘new normal’. For me, as it is for Sandberg, work is an important part of my life. My first instinct, though, was that I could not see how going back to work was going to be possible. And I did go back to work much sooner than I expected, after about six weeks.I knew it was to be a different way of working from what I was used to, but I had to find a new way of doing things. How to Stay Focused at Work During Personal Crisis. Grief in the Office Calls for CARING. The Death of a Colleague Requires Time for Mourning. A Grieving person, employee or employer, can impact the workplace in many ways. Timely Grief Education & Counseling can help. - Grief in the Workplace. 
The Four Most Powerful Lessons in Management by Joel Peterson, Chairman, JetBlue Airways. Stanford Business School. It's humbling to work with those great men and women whose actions speak volumes. I experienced this in a dramatic way early in my career following the tragic death of a colleague. My partner and I both felt the loss deeply, but while I sent condolences to her family and expressed heartfelt grief, he turned his Grief into Action. He flew to the family’s side, assisted with funeral arrangements, and established a scholarship to educate her child. He did all this quietly and without fanfare. His decisive actions put my expressions of sympathy to shame. I said, but he did.This realization has shaped my view of management over 40 years and helped me to establish four core principles: 1.Do it - don't just say it. 2. It's all about people. 3. Meaning isn't everything - it's the only thing. 4. Talk doesn't solve problems. - Grieving, depression affect work performance. According to the Wall Street Journal, workplace grief costs businesses more than $75 billion every year in reduced productivity, increased errors and accidents. 
After a family member dies, an employee often returns to work, eager to get back to normal life, routines, and a paycheck. However, a well-documented phase of the grieving process, depression, can interfere with performance. In this stage of grief, the reality of loss is sinking in. A survivor might experience difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, low energy, and crying spells. The stresses of a normal day only compound the problem so that even a top employee may need some latitude and some tools in order to work through grief without letting his work go altogether.


Writing Writing to ease Grief. Some research suggests that disclosing deep emotions through writing can boost immune function as well as mood and well-being. Conversely, the stress of holding in strong feelings can ratchet up blood pressure and heart rate and increase muscle tension.


Visions - What We Can't Explain at the End of Life: Who and What You See Before You Die. Throughout my years of working with the dying and the bereaved, I have noticed commonly shared experiences that remain beyond our ability to explain and fully understand. The first are visions



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the Biology of Grief
Scientists know that

the intense stress of grieving

can affect the body in various ways,

but much remains a mystery.

"Over their lifetimes, according to studies done mostly on bereaved spouses, they may have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, infections, cancer and chronic diseases like diabetes. Within the first three months, research on bereaved parents and spouses shows that they are nearly two times more likely to die than those not bereaved, and after a year, they are 10 percent more likely to die...

Everything starts with the brain.

It responds to the death (and to intense stress in general),

by releasing certain hormones that fan out into the body,

affecting the cardiovascular system and the cells of the immune system.

Aside from that generality, however, the biology of grief has

no clear chain of cause-and-effect that the biology of, say, diabetes, has.

That’s because the goals of these studies are

to better understand the griever’s risks for disease,

not to understand the path of grief through the body."

a relationship exists between

depression and inflammation

among bereaved individuals

"The first study to demonstrate that

inflammatory markers can distinguish

those who are widowed based on grief severity

such that those who are higher on grief severity

have higher levels of inflammation compared with

those who are lower on grief severity."

The Health Effects of Loss and Grief

"Effects of grief on tumor biology (July 2023): Grief has been found to elevate the risk of immune response and inflammation-related illnesses, including a heightened risk of tumor development. Therefore, the literature suggests that some cases may have an elevated cancer risk associated with grief.

Heightened activity in the somatic nervous system can increase the production of hormones that impact oncological processes, such as tumor development. The activation of the bodily nervous system is caused by grief-related stress, which produces epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glucocorticoids.

The production of these hormones is triggered by mechanisms mediated by glucocorticoid and adrenergic pathways. These are activated by behavior in the somatic nervous system. In turn,

this may mean that grief is associated with heightened cancer risk"

The Role of Grief in Addiction

"There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief is painful.

Unfortunately, we will all have to experience it. One of the ways people may try to cope with that pain is by numbing themselves through the use of substances.

Doing this, however, can only extend the feelings we are trying to suppress and make things worse.

Research and experience have shown

that there is a strong connection between substance abuse and

complicated grief or persistent complex grief disorder1

which are disabling and debilitating responses to grief."

Spousal bereavement

is associated with more

pronounced ex vivo cytokineproduction and

lower heart rate variability:

Mechanisms underlying

cardiovascular risk?

"The loss of a spouse is a highly stressful event that puts people at excess risk of mortality.

Excess mortality among those who are widowed is

highest in the first six months after the death of a spouse and decreases over time.

Heart disease accounts for the largest proportion of these deaths.

The psychological stress associated with stressful life events

can enhance inflammation and lower heart rate variability (HRV)"

Inflammatory and thrombotic changes

in early bereavement:

a prospective evaluation

"Acute bereavement is associated with inflammatory and prothrombotic changes

that may contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk with bereavement and

provide clues for future preventative strategies."

Functional Neuroanatomy of Grief:

An fMRI Study

"Conclusions:  Grief is mediated by a distributed neural network that sub serves affect processing, mentalizing, episodicmemory retrieval, processing of familiar faces, visual imagery,

autonomic regulation, and modulation/coordination of these functions.

This neural network may account for the unique, subjective qualityof grief and provide new leads in under-standing the health consequences of grief and the neurobiology of attachment.

Grief after the death of a loved one has received in-creased attention in psychiatry in recent years,

with the realization that 40% of bereaved individuals suffer from major or minor depression (1) and

are at increased risk for mortality from all causes (2).

Bereaved individuals are at high risk for suicide (3),

while treatment with antidepressants can lead to significant improvement

in bereavement-related depression (4).

Despite this interest, to our knowledge

grief has not been the subject of previous neuroimaging research."

Grief Health highlights the Latest News and Research on How Grief Can Impact Our Health, as Shared by My Grief Angels Online User Community

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