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Complicated Grief & Loss

Treatment at Cottonwood Tucson

About Grief & Loss

Grief is a normal and unavoidable part of human existence. We all will likely suffer the pain of grief at some point in our lives, usually with the death of a friend or loved one. When we suffer this kind of life event, we mourn and over time we accept our loss and – without forgetting – move on. But for some, it seems impossible to let go, and even years later, the pain of loss remains acute. This can be exacerbated when a loved one is lost to suicide, when a death is sudden and unexpected, or when one has an extremely close relationship with the deceased, such as parent/child, for example. If the process of grieving becomes stalled, this is when grief becomes complicated grief – pervasive sadness and stress can spiral into a debilitating depression in which the chemistry of the bereaved person’s brain becomes dysregulated and, in severe cases, brain tissue can actually shrink.

Symptoms of Complicated Grief & Loss

Some symptoms of complicated grief and loss include:

  • Inability to accept the death of a loved one
  • Anger or bitterness at the loss of the deceased
  • Feelings of guilt or blame surrounding the death
  • Difficulty in “moving on”
  • Detachment from others
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Pervasive feelings of depression
  • Difficulty carrying out normal activities

Treating Complicated Grief

Cottonwood provides complicated grief and loss treatment through our experienced clinicians (including a certified thanatologist) who use their understanding of the grief and loss process and the neurobiology of depression to help bereaved patients develop new thought processes and behavior that reinforce neurological balance that can keep the brain healthy throughout the grief process.

Cottonwood’s grief and loss treatment and depression treatment provides individual and group therapies that are helpful in identifying and removing behavioral and attitudinal components that can complicate the grief process while helping bereaved patients to develop more adaptive ways of managing thoughts and feelings that may complicate the process of grieving or act as triggers to depressive episodes. Grief groups, trauma therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in grief and loss treatment can help lessen the emotional resonance of painful memories and help patients to adaptively negotiate and process their grief and loss.

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