Grief: A Natural Response to Loss
At some point in life, everyone is going to have to deal with grief. Grief is simply a natural response to loss and that loss does not just have to be associated with the loss of a loved one. Individuals can also experience grief because of the loss of a job, relationship, or home, just to name a few. While everyone deals with grief in different ways, the seven widely accepted stages of grief are: shock and denial; pain and guilt; anger and bargaining; depression; upward turn; reconstruction and working through; and acceptance and hope. To effectively deal with grief, each person must go through all seven stages of the grieving process. There is no set time limit for working through the stages as every person is different.
It is important to remember that sometimes we cannot deal with grief on our own. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone that you know and trust for support. A person’s grief and grieving may even get to the point that they would require further help through counseling and in severe cases, medication. Imaging studies have shown that grief is tied to lots of different brain areas and functions, which contributes to the unique experience of grief that each person feels.
When you know someone going through the grieving process, don’t be afraid to be a source of support. Some strategies that might help include sharing the sorrow, not offering false comfort, offering practical help, being patient, and encouraging professional help, when necessary.
As Certified PAs, our patient relationships often position us to ask, “How are you doing?” If grief is a concern, we can support our patients by educating them about the stages of grief, connecting them with online or local resources, and, if needed, referring them for counseling or medication support.