For some, the grief response may reach the level of clinical depression or generate a sense of uncertainty that borders on anxiety or panic. Here are the symptoms that indicate a need for professional help.
- A sadness so intense that it begins to interfere with your life. You don’t go out. You avoid people. Nothing lifts your feelings of gloom.
- A debilitating sense of guilt, because you can’t shake the feeling that you should have been able to prevent the loss.
- Increased anger at or irritation by others who don’t appear to understand your feelings or who, you believe, haven’t experienced the same kind of loss.
- Reliance on alcohol or drugs to alleviate the sadness.
- Sleep disruptions, especially beyond six months.
- Severe depression and hopelessness about the future. Thoughts of suicide.
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder: reexperiencing the loss event through flashbacks or nightmares, memory and concentration problems, anxiety, a tendency to be easily startled.