Signs and Symptoms of Grief and Loss When to Seek Help

Experiencing the effects of bereavement can be overwhelming. Learn about the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual symptoms of grief and loss, and when it's important to seek professional help for complicated or prolonged grief. Support and resources are available for those who need it.

Signs and Symptoms of Grief and Loss When to Seek Help
Feelings of grief and loss ebb and flow over the years.

What is Bereavement?

The signs and symptoms of grief and loss, also known as the effects of bereavement, can be overwhelming and frightening, often leaving individuals feeling as if they are going through a challenging emotional journey. These feelings may persist for months, and for some individuals experiencing complicated grief, the duration may extend to years.

Physical Symptoms of Grieving:

  • Feelings of tiredness and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Sore, tired muscles
  • Stomach upset
  • Stress-related ailments
  • Memory and concentration problems

Emotional Symptoms of Grieving:

  • Feelings of heaviness
  • Crying
  • Sighing
  • Feelings of sadness and yearning
  • Worry
  • Feeling of guilt
  • Anger

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    Social Symptoms:

    • Feelings of detachment
    • Social isolation
    • Exhibiting behaviors that are not normal for you

    Spiritual Symptoms:

    • Questioning loss and pain

    Prolonged or complicated grief signs and symptoms that are signals you need professional help:

    1. Serious or persistent thoughts of or actual planning of suicide.
    2. High anxiety that leaves you non-functional.
    3. Depression – It's normal to feel sad at the death of a loved one, but a complicated or prolonged bereavement may lead to true clinical depression.

    How Grief Affects the Brain


    For serious suicidal thoughts: Seek help immediately. Have a friend drive you to the hospital or dial 911.

    For uncontrollable anxiety or clinical depression: Professional help is essential, and medication may be necessary.

    Other support systems: Consider online support groups and forums, as well as local support groups—especially useful for those who have lost a child or are dealing with grief from suicide.

    Every day, I work with people who have lost a family member, regardless of age. Many clients have candidly shared heartfelt experiences, reminding me of our resilience.

    We are here to help you.

    Share Your Sorrow and Write to Heal

    Have more questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Question section of the website. You will find a lot of different questions answered directly.