Help and Grief

Persons experiencing acute grief can help themselves in a number of ways. Because grief is a form of stress, lifestyle management including adequate sleep and diet, as well as other techniques for stress reduction, can be helpful. Bibliotherapy or the use of self-help books can often validate or normalize grief reactions, suggest ways of adaptation, and offer hope. Self-help and support groups can offer similar assistance as well as social support from others who have experienced loss. Others may benefit from counselors, particularly if their health suffers or their grief becomes highly disabling, impairing functioning at work, school, or home, or if they harbor destructive thoughts toward self or others. Parkes (1980) particularly stressed the value of grief counseling when other support is not forthcoming.

Pharmacological interventions also may be helpful particularly when the grief is disabling, that is, severely compromising the individual's health or ability to function. Such interventions should be focused on particular conditions, such as anxiety or depression, that are precipitated or exacerbated by the bereavement. Pharmacological interventions should be accompanied by psychotherapy.

Most individuals seem to ameliorate grief in that, over time, they can remember the loss without the intense reactions experienced earlier. Nevertheless, anywhere from 20 to 33 percent seem to experience more complicated grief reactions (Rando).

Dealing With Sorrow

Dealing With Sorrow

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