Prolonged grief is a psychological condition characterized by such an intense and enduring sense of Grief that a person's ability to function in everyday life is significantly impaired for an extended period of time.
Also known as prolonged grief disorder (PGD) or complicated grief, prolonged grief is now recognized as an official mental health disorder that persists beyond well beyond what is considered a healthy amount of time.
Grief is a natural response to the loss of a loved one, and most people do not develop prolonged grief. However, when the pain of loss becomes prolonged and significantly impacts a person's everyday life, it may be diagnosed as a mental health disorder.
Treatment for prolonged grief often involves Therapy, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Grief Counseling. Mental health professionals help those who are afflicted process their emotions and learn Healthy Coping strategies to manage their grief more effectively.
Some key features of prolonged grief that differentiate it include:
Duration: Prolonged grief typically lasts for an extended period, often six months or more after the loss of a loved one. It continues well beyond the expected time frame for grieving.
Intensity: Individuals with prolonged grief experience intense and overwhelming emotions related to the loss. These emotions can include sadness, yearning, anger, guilt, and feelings of emptiness.
Impairment: Prolonged grief can lead to significant impairment in various areas of life, such as work, relationships, and daily functioning. People with PGD may struggle to carry out their usual responsibilities and maintain social connections.
Preoccupation with the Deceased: Individuals with prolonged grief often have persistent thoughts and memories of the deceased, sometimes to the point of being unable to focus on other aspects of life.
Emotional Numbness: While experiencing intense emotions related to the loss, some people with PGD may also report feelings of emotional numbness or detachment from others.
Social Isolation: Prolonged grief can lead to social withdrawal and isolation, as individuals may find it challenging to connect with others or engage in social activities.