Straight Talk: Cycles of Grief & Support

HEALTH

Honolulu (KHON2) – Grief is a subject that doesn’t get a lot of attention, so we went to Rhesa and Edwina of Hooko LLC for some Straight Talk.

Grief is the very normal and organic emotional reaction to any kind of loss, most often associated with the passing of a loved one. Grief may also be due to conflicting feelings about the end of or change in a familiar pattern or behavior.

There are 4 primary types of grief which include: 

1) Complicated grief –reactions to loss that are long-lasting or debilitating and interfere with daily life.

2) Prolonged grief – also known as chronic grief, in which the person’s grief causes them to be impaired over the long-term. With complicated and prolonged grief, this could develop into an actual disorder like Major Depression or Complicated Bereavement. 

3) Traumatic grief – Heightened responses to a person who passes in an unexpected, horrifying or violent manner.

4) Anticipatory grief – reaction to a death that a person anticipated (e.g. a person who had a long-term illness. It’s important to note that this doesn’t make the grieving any easier.

Research shows us that 2.5 million people pass away in the United States each year, and each person leaves at least 5 grieving people behind. Approximately 10-20% of those who are grieving have complicated grief, with symptoms remaining evident for 1-2 months. About 1.5 million children have lost one parent by the age of 15. About 2 million children under the age of 18, have lost both of their parents. In addition, employers pay up to $75 billion annually due to grief recovery.

According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages in the cycle of grief. First is denial in which a person is confused, in shock, and ultimately denies the loss. Second is the stage of anger, in which a person exhibits frustration, irritation, anxiety & ultimately anger over the loss. Third is the bargaining stage where the survivors struggle to find meaning of the loss, sharing about their loss & often wish they could trade places with the person who passed. Fourth is the depression stage in which a person feels overwhelmed, helpless, and feels a deep sense of sadness. Last is the stage of acceptance in which a person accepts the passing of their loved one, explores options and makes plans to move forward in life.

Adaptive grief is what we would consider “normal” – for example, going through the five stages of grief and finding resolution at the end, with minimal or little dramatic interruption of day-to-day life. Maladaptive grief is the complicated or prolonged type of grief mentioned earlier, where the hallmark symptom is that a person’s day-to-day life is grossly impaired. For example, a grieving person may not be able to hold down a job, may develop major depression, may not see the point in living anymore, etc.

Get professional assistance – talk to a Pastor, or a Therapist who specializes in grief work. Hooko LLC Counseling Center provides services for these types of situations. Often people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances.

 If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact 808-375-7712 or visit www.hookollc.com.

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