Q: What is the difference between grief and mourning?
- Grief is a natural response that can manifest in any form such as thoughts, behaviors, or physiologic reactions.
- Mourning is the process of adapting to a loss and integrating the grief associated with it.
End of life care is not only patients' requirement, it carries its toll on physicians as well. They are very frequently required to provide comfort to bereaved family members. One of the objectives of a clinician in such a situation is to prevent grief from generating into complex grief and allow mourning to incur.Complicated grief is broadly defined as disabling and troubling thoughts, dysfunctional behaviors, dysregulated emotions, and/or serious psychosocial problems. Clinicians need to appreciate its unique existence besides other psychiatric issues (please see references below).
1. Lobb EA, Kristjanson LJ, Aoun SM, et al. Predictors of complicated grief: a systematic review of empirical studies. Death Stud 2010; 34:673.
2. Simon NM. Treating complicated grief. JAMA 2013; 310:416.
3. Latham AE, Prigerson HG. Suicidality and bereavement: complicated grief as psychiatric disorder presenting greatest risk for suicidality. Suicide Life Threat Behav 2004; 34:350.
4. Shear K, Shair H. Attachment, loss, and complicated grief. Dev Psychobiol 2005; 47:253.