Grief is a very strong emotional state, which includes a large number of psychological and physiological reactions. Grief is one aspect of grief and refers to experiences that encompass a certain time frame and series of actions.
The psychological phenomena of grief include feelings of numbness and dissociation, loss, anguish, anger, guilt, apathy, anxiety. Obsessive ideas can occur, cognitive functions noticeably deteriorate, regression to an early age occurs. Often there are vegetative disorders: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular. Many researchers have noted the relationship between grief and the development of cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, etc.), cancer, weakening of the immune status. Different people are differently susceptible to the occurrence of somatic diseases that developed against the background of grief.
In a state of grief, a person is especially susceptible to depression. It is noted that during the first year after the death of the spouse, 30–50% of people are in a state similar to a severe depressive episode. In the American classification of diseases DSM-III, for the purpose of differential diagnosis, the term “uncomplicated loss” was even introduced (in DSM-IV, this term is replaced by the concept of “loss”). And this is not considered as an independent mental disorder. “Major depression” (severe depressive episode) can be identified by the following signs: guilt associated with death, preoccupation with it, loss of the meaning of life, delayed psychomotor functions, prolonged somatic disorders (Shuchter S., Zisook S., 2002).
Characterized by insomnia and lack of appetite. People who have experienced grief are trying to limit themselves from social contacts due to the fact that the latter evoke painful memories. The feeling of grief can have a different duration. Usually the experience in connection with the bereavement, the death of a loved one goes through certain stages (“the work of grief”). At the first stage, a person refuses to recognize the event that has occurred, and from the outside it can be assumed that he is simply devoid of feelings. Then he agrees with what happened and, as a rule, during this period psychosomatic disorders, insomnia, weakness appear, appetite disappears, a feeling of confusion, guilt or despair arises. A person does not receive pleasure from what was previously pleasing, tries to avoid communication, constantly thinks about the departed, longs. Slowly, as he resigns himself to the loss suffered, he “accepts” the current situation, he recovers his interest in life.
It seems significant differential diagnosis of the normal course of depression loss and depressive episode as an independent mental disorder. Here, the duration of depression plays an important role, which in the case of “depression of loss” is usually short-term (less than two months), whereas in the case of a pronounced depressive episode it lasts much longer (6-9 months). In a depressive episode, autonomy of current symptoms, signs of melancholia or psychosis, history of indications of chronic, recurrent or recurrent symptoms; as a rule, the perception of oneself is changed. Depression usually sustains grief and, therefore, markedly aggravates it.