Blue Butterfly Glow
Page Title Tear

Section Home

General Information
Acute Responses to Loss
Assessing the Risk for Suicide
Holiday or Anyday Blues
Sudden, Accidental or Traumatic Death
September 11th Resources

Warning Signs & Symptoms
Complications of Grief
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Grief AIDE
How to Help a Grieving Person
How to Help a Grieving Child
Ways of Coping
Poems & Quotes 
Site Map

JofH Ethics Logo This website
follows the HON Code of Conduct
Leaving Site , the AMA's
Guidelines for Medical & Health Information Sites on the Internet Leaving Site
and the eHealth Code of Ethics Leaving Site.

Site created with Zope. Zope Logo

. .
~ Acute Responses to Loss ~

Various Responses to Loss
There are a variety of responses physical, ccognitive, behavioral, and emotional that can be exhibited after experiencing a loss. Different types of loss can precipitate these responses be it a death, a traumatic event, the break up of a long-standing relationship. A grieving person can undergo both significant and subtle changes that impact their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states. It is important to understand that these feelings and experiences are a way of coping. These are normal reactions to a major loss. These responses should be viewed as a normal response to an abnormal event. It is important to remember that 

The acute responses to loss are not unhealthy or maladaptive responses.
Rather they are normal responses to an abnormal event.

Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

Depending on the perception and experiences of the loss, people may experience one of the following responses or a combination of the following normal responses to this event:

For more information on the different responses, click on the links above.

People may respond differently to the same loss or traumatic event. People experience stress and respond to stress in different ways. Not everyone demonstrates a reaction to a loss. Some people may not appear to be affected. Some have delayed reactions that do not show up for days, to weeks or even months later. Others never have a reaction at all. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms. It is important not to compare our reaction with the reactions of others, or judge their reactions or even lack of reactions.

The grieving person may experience a variety of physical or body complaints: fatigue, insomnia, pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, chest pressure, palpitations, stomach pains, backaches, panic attacks, or inreased anxiety. These potentially serious complaints require a through evaluation to exclude potentially serious medical disorders before a traumatic response, a grief response, or a stress disorder can be diagnosed.

Which reaction or response is experienced may be determined by which type of health care professional you might encounter. Trauma responders and emergency room physicians are more familiar with the Acute Traumatic Response. Primary Care and Family practitioners with the Acute Grief Response and Mental Health Workers with the Acute Stress Disorder (or the more chronic condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The signs symptoms involved in these different reactions to loss are overlapping and inter-related.

The traumatic nature and the magnitude of the events that occurred on September 11, 2001, combined with the vastness of the death and the destruction, the suddenness and senselessness of the attack make it more likely those who witnessed the events will have some response to this abnormal event.

Those who grieve find comfort in weeping and in arousing their sorrow
until the body is too tired to bear the inner emotions

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

Home | A Healing Place | Loss & Grief | Emergency Pick-Me-Ups | Condolence & Sympathy
What's New? | Resources | Transitional Medicine | Butterflies & Blazes
About this Site | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Information on this site is designed to support, not replace, an existing physician-patient, provider-patient relationship. We regret that we are unable to answer any specific medical, mental or health related emails. Please contact your health care provider if you need specific questions answered. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.
All material, unless otherwise specified, is © 1997-2003 by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS of Journey of Hearts. Information on this site may be shared with others, but not in for-profit ventures without permission.
For more information see our full Copyright.

To contact the Domain Designer regarding the website or to use materials on this website send email to
Blue Butterfly Tear

Last update Sept. 11, 2002