What Is Traumatic Grief?
Updated: Sep 8
Sometimes, people adjust to a "new normal" readily after someone dies. Other times, grieving is an ongoing struggle that consumes their life.
While there's not a time limit to grief, traumatic grief can significantly impact your mental, emotional, and physical health. It's important to know the signs of traumatic grief, what to do to manage symptoms, and how to get support.
What to Know About Traumatic Grief
What Are Symptoms of Traumatic Grief?
Traumatic grief happens when you experience grief in a similar way to how you'd experience a traumatic event. People with traumatic grief experience grieving so intense that they:
Have difficulty functioning or doing things they need to do to get through a typical day
Struggle to recall anything positive, especially about the person they lost
Have trouble thinking about anyone else
Experience physical pain in the same areas as the person who died
Avoid anything that reminds them of that person's death
Cannot accept their loved one's death or believe that they're gone
Feel stunned or dazed by the death they're grieving
Long for the presence of their loved one who died
Feel like their life is empty without them/like there is no point in living without their loved one
See their deceased loved one or hear their voice
Are fixated on going where their loved one went or doing things they did
Feel very angry or bitter about the death of their loved one to the point it makes them jealous, suspicious, or envious of people around them
Constantly feel lonely
Is this how you're feeling after losing a friend, parent, or loved one? If so, you're not alone, and there's a name for what you're feeling. You may be experiencing traumatic grief after the death you're mourning. There is hope. Effective traumatic grief treatment is available.
Why Should You Address Traumatic Grief?
Addressing traumatic grief is important because it's a mental health condition that actually prevents you from healthy grieving.
The longer you face traumatic grief without support, the more difficult it may feel to accept your loved one's death, to feel anything other than sadness when you think about your loved one, or to have a sense of moving forward with your life. Healing from grief-induced trauma is important in order to more effectively manage the ways grief can evolve over time.
Severe, prolonged traumatic grief can also impact your physical health. If you're constantly horrified or terrified by the thought of the loss of your loved one, you're likely not able to fully focus on meeting your responsibilities, doing things you want to do, or taking care of your basic needs. As a result, you may feel drained, exhausted, have trouble eating or sleeping, and show other signs of physical illness. Learning to heal from traumatic grief will enable you to practice complete self-care.
Working through traumatic grief is also going to benefit your other relationships. Letting go of bitterness, excessive fear, and unhealthy anger can improve all the close friendships and relationships in your life. It will also help you gain a kinder view of the people in your life as you grow and heal.
What Can You Do About Traumatic Grief?
You can take charge when it comes to finding grief support and recovering from traumatic grief. An integrated behavioral health approach includes treatment options that help you protect and improve your mental, physical, and emotional health, all while still cherishing the memories of your loved one.
You can identify which parts of your grieving are traumatic, which are healthy, and which represent a lifelong connection to the person you lost.
The behavioral health professionals at The Collective are proud to offer holistic care plans to help manage, cope with, and heal traumatic grief. Through counseling (individual or group counseling activities), psychiatry, and wellness support, we can customize traumatic grief treatment according to your unique needs.
Serving adults and young professionals, The Collective’s Denver mental health services are provided by a behavioral health team that specializes in a variety of other mental health concerns, too. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our providers.
Does My Insurance Cover a Therapist at The Collective?
The Collective is partnered with several insurance providers to make our services more accessible to you. You can verify your insurance through our website before scheduling an appointment.