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How Long does Grief Last?

People grieve for different periods of time.

The grieving process may occur in several stages.  Early stages may involve numbness or denial of the loss, followed by anger. Some people may then experience deep yearning followed by despair. The final stages include acceptance of the loss. The stages of grief are not linear. Some people go through the stages quickly or even skip some stages entirely. Other people seem to linger or return to certain stages after a period of feeling better. 

People grieve differently at different ages.

Children may not understand the concept of death and may take more time to grieve. Preschool-aged children typically view death as temporary and may need to have it explained repeatedly. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years generally begin to understand death better. They comprehend that the dead person is not returning and may ask questions or invent games about dying. Adolescents understand death as adults do, but may grieve differently. They often seek help within their own peer groups and may engage in more impulsive or risk-taking behaviors, such as drug or alcohol use or impulsive sexual behavior.

Other Useful Links regarding Grief

  • Overview of Grief
  • Types of Grief
    • Read more about the various types of grief that include nonfinite, anticipatory, anniversary reactions, and complicated grief.
  • Signs and Symptoms of Grief
  • Tips for Individuals struggling with Grief
    • Tips for helping children, loved ones, and others struggling with grief.
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