Complicated grief is an intense and long-lasting form of grief that takes over a person's life. It is natural to experience acute grief after someone close dies, but complicated grief is different. Complicated grief is a form of grief that takes hold of a person's mind and won't let go. Complicated grief is a chronic, heightened state of mourning. Its symptoms can include: Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one, Intense longing or pining for the deceased, Problems accepting the death, Numbness or detachment, Preoccupation with your sorrow, Bitterness about your loss.
Complicated grief is sometimes treated with a type of psychological counselling (psychotherapy) called complicated grief therapy. It's similar to psychotherapy techniques used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Complicated grief is a recently recognized condition that occurs in about 7% of bereaved people. In a research study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, researchers found bereaved spouses experiencing complicated grief had a higher incidence of cancer.
The study group consisted of 150 future widows and widowers interviewed at the time of their spouse's hospital admission and at 6-week and 6-, 13-, and 25- month follow-ups. Traumatic grief was measured with a modified version of the Grief Measurement Scale. Survival and regression analyses indicated that the presence of traumatic grief symptoms approximately 6 months after the death of the spouse predicted such negative health outcomes as cancer, heart trouble, high blood pressure, suicidal ideation, and changes in eating habits at 13- or 25-month follow-up. "