Grief and Sadness

What is grief?

Grief is the natural emotional response to loss. Grief can be caused by the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job, and more. While grieving, it is normal to have feelings of disbelief, sadness, guilt, fear, and anger. Furthermore, grief is sometimes accompanied by physical symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, inability to focus, weight loss or gain, lowered immunity, and insomnia.

Children experience grief differently than adults. Many children express feelings of sadness intermittently, and it may be unpredictable. Some children may experience anger and reveal it through nightmares, irritability, and aggressive play, among other behaviors. Many children begin to act more infantile after a loss, and they may demand food, attention, and affection.

What is depression? How does it differ from sadness?

Depression occurs when a person’s feelings of sadness endure beyond a two-week period and begin to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Depressed individuals will often feel unmotivated, helpless, and/or overwhelmed. They may stray from their normal routines and withdraw from family and friends. In some cases, physical symptoms may develop, including aches, nausea, and fatigue.

How can psychotherapy help?

A mental health professional can help grieving children accept loss and work through their emotions. Furthermore, a mental health professional can help children with depression by fostering a more positive outlook. Psychotherapy can also help depressed individuals set realistic goals to improve their physical and psychological health, as well as provide methods of reaching these goals. By doing these things, a person can feel more in control of his/her life and the chance of a depressive episode is greatly reduced.