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Types of Grief

Different types of grief include:

Nonfinite grief

  • Grief that occurs as a result of losing hopes, wishes, ideals, expectations.  Nonfinite grief is seen in families that have received the diagnosis of a chronic illness or developmental or neurological deficit in a family member.  Families that have children diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome, hearing loss, seizure disorder, or other disabilities go through nonfinite grief.  This is a unique grieving process because the individuals are still in the physical presence of their loved one.  Each time their child experiences set back or relapses due to illness family goes through the grieving process.  They are also reminded of the loss of their life each they see another child or individual passing through different life stages such as entering school, playing sports, graduation, prom, marriage ect..  It is important for individuals and families to see therapy to help them learn to grieve in a way that will unite their family and make each of them stronger. 

Anticipatory grief

  • Grief that begins before (in anticipation of) the loss, such as the initiation of divorce proceedings or when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Anniversary reactions

  • Grief responses that occur following reminders of the loss, such as on anniversaries, holidays or other special days throughout the year. These can last for days or weeks, and are not necessarily a setback in the grieving process.

Complicated grief (also called Traumatic Grief)

  • Occurs when grief becomes chronic, disabling and more intense. This is often seen as a progression of grief into major depression, with some features of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as nightmares and flashbacks. Complicated grief is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 10 percent to 20 percent of people grieving the loss of a loved one experience complicated grief.

Other Useful Links regarding Grief

  • Overview of Grief
  • How long does grief last?
    • People grieve for different periods of time and in different stages. Read more about how long grief lasts.
  • 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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