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
How to Help a Grieving Person
How to Help a Grieving Child
Ways of Coping
Poems & Quotes
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~ Warning Signs & Symptoms ~
Suicide Warning Signs
Signs & Symptoms of Depression
Talk of death, suicide, or harming oneself
Chronic panic or anxiety
Altered personality or appearance
Changes in sleeping or eating habits
Dropping grades (for those still in school)
Giving away treasured possessions
Becoming more isolated - pulling away from normal
Talk of depression, life is not worth living
Do you, or anyone you know have any of the following
Warning Signals of Unresolved Grief/Complicated
Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
Dissatisfaction with life
Withdrawal from social activities
Loss of energy
Feeling useless or hopeless
Great concern with health problems
Sadness or crying
Worry and/or self-criticism
Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions
Loss of appetite and weight
Anyone exhibiting these warning signals should
be evaluated by their Primary Care Physician or a Mental Health Practitioner
Symptoms and Behavior of Unresolved Grief/Complicated Mourning
Inhibited or Absent Grieving
Anyone exhibiting these symptoms and behaviors
should be evaluated by their Primary Care Physician or a Mental Health Practitioner.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Trauma
A depressive syndrome of varying degrees of severity
A history of delayed or prolonged grief
Symptoms of guilt, self-reproach, panic attacks,
and somatic expressions of fear such as choking sensations and hyperventilation
Somatic symptoms representing identification with
the deceased, those of the terminal illness
Physical distress under the upper half of the sternum
accompanied by expressions such as
"There is something stuck" or "I feel there is a
demon inside me."
Searching behavior - trying to locate the deceased
symbolically or actually
Recurrence of depressive symptoms and searching behavior
on holidays or anniversaries
A feeling that the death occurred yesterday, even
though the loss took place months or years ago
Unwillingness to move the material possessions of
Change in relationships e.g. replacement of deceased
with someone else
Diminished participation in religious and ritualistic
The inability to discuss the deceased without crying
or the voice cracking, particularly when the death occurred over a year
Recounting themes of loss
People who have experienced a traumatic event
oftentimes suffer psychological stress related to the incident. In most
instances, these are normal reactions to abnormal situations. Those who
are unable to regain control of their lives, or who experience the following
symptoms for more than a month, should be evaluated by the Primary Care
Physician or a Mental Health Practitioner. The symptoms to watch out for:
Recurring thoughts or nightmares about the event.
Re-experiencing the event through vivid memories
or flash backs.
Having trouble sleeping or changes in appetite.
Experiencing anxiety and fear, especially when exposed
to events or situations reminiscent of the trauma.
Being on edge, being easily startled or becoming
Feeling guilty about surviving the event or being
unable to solve the problem, change the event or prevent the disaster.
Feeling depressed, sad and having low energy.
Experiencing memory problems including difficulty
in remembering aspects of the trauma.
Feeling "scattered" and unable to focus on work or
Feeling overwhelmed by what would normally be considered
everyday situations and diminished interest in performing normal tasks
or pursuing usual interests.
Having difficulty making decisions.
Feeling irritable, easily agitated, suspicious, or
angry and resentful.
Feeling fearful and a sense of doom about the future
Feeling emotionally "numb."
Withdrawing, disconnecting. Avoiding social situations
Feeling different from others.
Spontaneously crying, feeling a sense of despair
Feeling extremely protective of, or fearful for,
the safety of loved ones.
Not being able to face certain aspects of the trauma,
and avoiding activities, places, or even people that remind you of the
Relying increasingly on alcohol or drugs to get through
Listen for the "cry for help." You might be the only one that hears it.
Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
See the Emergency
911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless,
hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.
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