The Effects of Loss and Death on the Mental Health

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The Effects of Loss and Death on the Mental Health

The unexpected loss of a person especially a loved one can cause many mental problems to a person close to a deceased / Photo by: Getty Images


The unexpected loss of a loved one could trigger mental health issues in adults with no history of psychiatric conditions, according to a study. Experts believe that it is uncommon to develop mental illness late in life, and researchers found out that there is a connection between sudden grief and the onset of disorder like mania, post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) and depression. The results showed the importance of considering the fact that the loss of a close personal relationship could have played a vital role in assessing psychiatric disorders. Researchers say that there is an effect on the self-reflection and well-being of the person when they lose someone they love. Lead author Katherine Kayes, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health also mentioned that adults who never had any history of mental health issues could be vulnerable in having a psychiatric disorder.

According to a web post by Jean Coutu, grief can be defined as the reaction to the loss of a loved one psychologically. Experts say that the loss of someone who is close to their life could be a very heavy burden for them, which is why it is advisable for a person who lost someone to let them feel the emotions and let the process of grieving to happen. The article also mentioned that whenever the person tries to repress his/her feelings could make their mental health condition to become worse. The sudden loss of a loved one also roughly doubled the risk for mania in people aged 30 and older. This was true even after the researchers took other factors into accounts such as medical history, other traumatic experiences, gender, race, income, education level, and marital status.


Responses of the brain in sadness


The relation between unexpected death and first onset of lifetime DSM-IV disorders estimated using a structured interview of adults in the US general population. Models controlled for a prior occurrence of any disorder, other traumatic event experiences, and demographics. Unexpected death was the most common traumatic experience and most likely to be rated as the respondent’s worst, regardless of other traumatic experiences. Increased incidence after unexpected death was observed at every point across the life course for major depressive episodes, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Increased incidence was clustered in later adult age groups for manic episodes, phobias, alcohol disorders, and generalized anxiety disorder.


Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist, relationship coach, and creator of the "Your Happiness Hypothesis Method", and licensed psychologists and founder of Rapport Relationships, Jennifer B. Rhodes said that there are neurochemical processes that are involved when they are becoming attached with one person. She also explained that the body is releasing adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin which could attract the other gender and create an intense attachment for women. “When you miss your significant other, all of these processes are winding down and can lead to heartache. Essentially, your emotions are mimicking your brain when your significant other is gone,” explained Silva on a web post by Elite Daily.


Loss and bereavement can be regarded as risk factors for the development of psychiatric and medical illness. Vulnerability to physical illness and mortality are increased during the first 2 years of bereavement, with men at higher risk than women. During the first months of bereavement, symptoms of anxiety and depressive symptoms are common and bereaved individuals not rarely go on to develop major depression. According to Karger, researchers said that critical life events can both affect the brain neurotransmitters and contribute to psychological and somatic symptoms of depression. Emotional events may be transduced into long-lasting brain changes, involving neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and receptors. Although only very limited evidence exists, long-term consequences could involve changes at the gene expression level.

Loss or beravement can cause psychiatric illnesses in the long run / Photo by: Getty Images


Coping up with loss and bereavement

The loss of a loved one is life’s most stressful event and can cause a major emotional crisis. After the death of someone that is close to our lives and they might experience bereavement, which literally means “to be deprived by death”. The death of a loved one is always difficult. The reactions are influenced by the circumstances of a death, particularly when it is sudden or accidental and it could be influenced by how close they are with the person who died. mentioned that when a person is dealing with grief, it is advisable to talk to a professional and to the people around them.

In addtion, it is also mentioned that a new study suggested that talk therapy with a professional during the grief process in order to reduce the risk of depression and other mental health issues. Likewise, researchers from Aarhus University conducted a study where it showed that patients show a lower risk of suicide and other psychological disorders. Researchers say that the importance of the study is to know the effects of doing a talk therapy or antidepressant medicine on grieving patients.

Having a talk or a conversation can help for a person dealing with beravement / Photo by: Getty Images




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