Prolonged Grief

What can be for some a healthy and normal grief reaction instead for others grows into an all-absorbing preoccupation that can go on for years. In the Monitor on Psychology, Weir (2018) reported that this condition will soon be included in the International Classification of Diseases as prolonged grief disorder. Its critical characteristic is a pervasive and extended longing for the one who has been lost. The prolonged grief disorder is most common among those who have lost a child or a romantic partner, usually after a sudden or violent death.

Unlike depression, there is active yearning, and the Prolonged Grief Disorder does not yield to antidepressants. Nevertheless, the experience is one of much anguish, often combining grief, anger, and sadness, Accepting the loss may be resisted because it can seem like the loved one has been abandoned. The more central the lost one has been to the bereaved's identity, the more the sense of personal identity suffers (Hanifah & Owings-Fonner, 2018). Life can seem meaningless without the loved one. The one with prolonged grief often withdraws and becomes bitterly socially isolated.

Hanifah and Owings-Fonner (2018) asserted that research has found that helping the bereaved reduce the avoidance of the loss is important. The attachment  needs to be maintained even while acknowledging the finality of the loss. The ultimate goals are are a revised and updated self-identity and a re-engagement with life. 


Hanifah, D., & OWings-Fonner, N. (2018). Research roundup: Spousal loss & bereavement care. http://www.apapractice

Weir, K. (2018). New paths for people with prolonged grief disorder. Monitor on Psychology, 49(10), 34-39.

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