After losing a loved one to death, the survivor often faces their loss with initial shock, but pulls themselves together enough to get through the funeral and burial. However, what many people suffering a loss don't realize is that grief takes some time to truly manifest itself. Additionally, unhealthy grief – if left untreated – can last for many years. Grief counseling is often offered by funeral homes to help the survivors cope. For the family and friends of the survivor, here are some signs that you need to try and get them into a type of grief counseling.
If They Don't Stop Grieving
While it can take time to adjust to a loss of a loved one, some sort of equilibrium should show in the survivor within six to eighteen months. If in that time, the survivor doesn't seem to be getting better or if they are actually worse, they need help. Prolonged grief can affect the bodily and mental health, and must be addressed.
If They Start Drinking Or Taking Drugs
Sometimes people take to alcohol or drugs to help cope and numb their sad feelings. While understandable, this is a destructive course that could lead to alcoholism or drug addiction. If the survivor seems to suddenly start doing these things or if they are doing it on a regular basis, it's time to ask them to seek counseling.
They Have "Complicated Grief"
Complicated grief occurs in roughly 7 percent of grief patients, and it can manifest itself as extreme avoidance of reminders of the incident, they dwell excessively on death and all things related to death, or may turn inward and live solely in their memories. This is a difficult disorder to recognize, but one that needs to be addressed to avoid the person isolating themselves or never healing from their grief.
If They Get Stuck At One Of The Five Phases Of Grief
There are five phases of grief, and these phases will typically come and go. They include:
Most people will swing through these phases on a regular basis, and they don't always experience these stages in this order. However, most people will experience all of the phases and eventually accept the death of their loved one.
Sometimes, people will get stuck in a certain phase and not come out of it on their own.
Make sure you watch surviving loved ones to see if they are progressing through their grief normally, and if not, help them set up an appointment for grief counseling.
For more information, contact a professional in the field of grief and loss, such as Gillies Funeral Chapel.