Grief and bereavement in adults: Management
- M Katherine Shear, MD
M Katherine Shear, MD
- Professor of Psychiatry
- Columbia University
- Charles F Reynolds III, MD
Charles F Reynolds III, MD
- UPMC Endowed Professor in Geriatric Psychiatry
- Director, Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research in Late-Life Depression Prevention and Treatment, and the Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry
- Director, Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of P
- Naomi M Simon, MD, MSc
Naomi M Simon, MD, MSc
- Harvard Medical School
- Director, Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders
- Director, Complicated Grief Program
- Chief Medical Officer, Red Sox Foundation and MGH Home Base Program
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- Sidney Zisook, MD
Sidney Zisook, MD
- Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
- UC San Diego
Grief is the response to bereavement, which is the situation in which a loved one has died . Natural acute grief reactions are often painful and impairing with emotional and somatic distress, but should not be diagnosed as a mental disorder. However, bereavement is a stressor that can precipitate or worsen mental disorders (eg, unipolar major depression). In addition, complications (maladaptive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors) may occur, such that acute grief becomes intense, prolonged, and debilitating. This condition is called complicated grief, which is viewed as a unique and recognizable disorder that requires specific treatment.
Acute grief does not typically require treatment. Most bereaved individuals are resilient and grief is transformed and integrated during a natural adaptive process that typically unfolds with the support and encouragement of close family and friends, as well as clergy.
This topic discusses the management of grief and bereavement. The clinical features of grief and bereavement are discussed separately, as are complicated grief, palliative care, and hospice:
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