If you have lost somebody in your life, you may have experienced what is commonly called complicated grief. Complicated grief can become even more complicated when you are also dealing with trauma. In teenagers, the combination of trauma and loss can be extremely difficult to deal with.
While complicated grief coinciding with trauma is extremely common, this does not mean that it is something your teen has to live with forever. If you've got questions, these are some of the answers you might be looking for about this condition.
What Exactly Does It Mean to Have Complicated Grief?
Grief is hard for most people, but it becomes complicated grief when a teen is consumed with loss to the point that other relationships suffer. For example, a teen's grief could turn into anxiety and isolation that impacts their life long after the initial mourning period is over. When paired with a traumatic event, this anxiety can grow more intense.
Trauma can make complicated grief more likely. For example, teens may experience complicated grief if the death was very violent or unexpected. Your teen may also be at higher risk for this condition if they have already suffered from trauma, anxiety, or depression.
Why Is Complicated Grief Dangerous?
Complicated grief is dangerous because it has physical, mental, and social implications. People with this condition often experience PTSD, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. It can cause a lack of sleep, which also exacerbates existing mental health issues.
When the condition goes on for too long, it is possible for those who suffer to become suicidal. In many cases, people neglect their own care or the care of others, which can also have negative physical side effects.
Isn't Complicated Grief Just Depression?
Actually, complicated grief is slightly different from depression. Complicated grief is more than sadness or listlessness, though it may also come with depression. Grief may also come with feelings that a loved one is not really gone or even hallucinations of a loved one. This is somewhat different from standard mourning or depression. Trauma can also bring on intrusive thoughts and night terrors.
How Can You Get Help for Trauma and Complicated Grief?
You can get help for a teen with complicated grief by speaking with a therapist. Individual therapy and group counseling sessions are often both helpful for addressing trauma leading to complicated grief. In these sessions, your teen will learn more about confronting any issues linked to trauma or grief.
Contact a local trauma treatment program, such as LifeLine for Youth, to learn more.