The term "complicated grief" is sometimes used to describe grief that is "stuck" or overly intense.
Since everyone grieves uniquely, it is often difficult to assign the label accurately. As a general rule of thumb, however, if a person's every day life is affected negatively, especially for a prolonged period of time (two or more years), grief might be considered complicated.
Grief can also be considered complicated when depression is present, or when it resembles Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. When either of these is present, treatment is recommended, since severe depression and the anxiety accompanying PTSD can in severe cases lead to suicide.
Unresolved grief can remain locked in the nervous system in maladaptive form. When this occurs, the unresolved feelings can affect every aspect of life over the entire life span, sometimes in profoundly negative ways. (See the vignette in Not Allowed to Grieve.)
Important facts about grief.
How to tell if you or someone you know is grieving.
Sometimes if the natural grieving process is inhibited, grief can take unhealthy forms.
How we help with complicated grief.
Research shows there are a number of things grieving people can do to help themselves.
Facing pain in children is difficult for adults. Consequently, children are sometimes not given the help they need to process their grief.
Where to find help in Albuquerque.
An example of unresolved grief.