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
- Director, Anxiety and Complicated Grief Program
- NYU Langone Health, NYU Medical School
- 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:To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
- Zisook S, Simon NM, Reynolds CF 3rd, et al. Bereavement, complicated grief, and DSM, part 2: complicated grief. J Clin Psychiatry 2010; 71:1097.
- Lobb EA, Kristjanson LJ, Aoun SM, et al. Predictors of complicated grief: a systematic review of empirical studies. Death Stud 2010; 34:673.
- Zisook S, Shear K. Grief and bereavement: what psychiatrists need to know. World Psychiatry 2009; 8:67.
- Stroebe M, Schut H, Stroebe W. Health outcomes of bereavement. Lancet 2007; 370:1960.
- Mancini AD, Griffin P, Bonanno GA. Recent trends in the treatment of prolonged grief. Curr Opin Psychiatry 2012; 25:46.
- Stroebe M, Stroebe W, Schut H, et al. Does disclosure of emotions facilitate recovery from bereavement? Evidence from two prospective studies. J Consult Clin Psychol 2002; 70:169.
- Range LM, Kovac SH, Marion MS. Does writing about the bereavement lessen grief following sudden, unintentional death? Death Stud 2000; 24:115.
- Shear K, Shair H. Attachment, loss, and complicated grief. Dev Psychobiol 2005; 47:253.
- Shear MK, Simon N, Wall M, et al. Complicated grief and related bereavement issues for DSM-5. Depress Anxiety 2011; 28:103.
- Simon NM. Treating complicated grief. JAMA 2013; 310:416.
- Schut H, Stroebe MS. Interventions to enhance adaptation to bereavement. J Palliat Med 2005; 8 Suppl 1:S140.
- Näppä U, Lundgren AB, Axelsson B. The effect of bereavement groups on grief, anxiety, and depression - a controlled, prospective intervention study. BMC Palliat Care 2016; 15:58.
- Tol WA, Barbui C, van Ommeren M. Management of acute stress, PTSD, and bereavement: WHO recommendations. JAMA 2013; 310:477.
- World Health Organization. WHO Guidelines for the Management of Conditions Specifically Related to Stress. Geneva, 2013. http://www.who.int/mental_health/resources/emergencies/en/ (Accessed on March 19, 2014).
- Currier JM, Neimeyer RA, Berman JS. The effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions for bereaved persons: a comprehensive quantitative review. Psychol Bull 2008; 134:648.
- Wittouck C, Van Autreve S, De Jaegere E, et al. The prevention and treatment of complicated grief: a meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev 2011; 31:69.
- Wittouck C, Van Autreve S, Portzky G, van Heeringen K. A CBT-based psychoeducational intervention for suicide survivors: a cluster randomized controlled study. Crisis 2014; 35:193.
- Lichtenthal WG, Corner GW, Sweeney CR, et al. Mental Health Services for Parents Who Lost a Child to Cancer: If We Build Them, Will They Come? J Clin Oncol 2015; 33:2246.
- van der Houwen K, Schut H, van den Bout J, et al. The efficacy of a brief internet-based self-help intervention for the bereaved. Behav Res Ther 2010; 48:359.
- Warner J, Metcalfe C, King M. Evaluating the use of benzodiazepines following recent bereavement. Br J Psychiatry 2001; 178:36.
- Nagraj S, Barclay S. Bereavement care in primary care: a systematic literature review and narrative synthesis. Br J Gen Pract 2011; 61:e42.
- Chen JH, Gill TM, Prigerson HG. Health behaviors associated with better quality of life for older bereaved persons. J Palliat Med 2005; 8:96.
- Buysse DJ, Germain A, Moul DE, et al. Efficacy of brief behavioral treatment for chronic insomnia in older adults. Arch Intern Med 2011; 171:887.