Grief often creates physical symptoms in the body. Because of the shock and stress that grief creates, it is quite common for individuals to find themselves struggling with the situation. They ask questions. They seek answers that are just not there. And, the stress, change, and fear echoing through their minds can create physical symptoms within the body. If you’ve lost a loved one or know someone who has, it can be important to recognize these symptoms and to take action when they become severe.
What Can Grief Really Do?
Consider the most common physical symptoms of grief. If they create a life threatening situation or become severe, hard to control, or otherwise taxing on the body, contact a doctor immediately.
-Headaches are a common symptom, often brought on by stress hormones as well as crying, lack of sleep, and poor eating habits.
-Fast heartbeats, pain or pressure in the chest, anxiety and shortness of breath (at various levels) can all be indications of panic, a symptom that can be brought on by grief that’s intense.
-Hallucinations, including seeing the person that’s passed on, can occur and often are the mind’s way of helping one to cope.
-Sleeping problems including a lack of sleep or the inability to do anything but sleep, are the body’s ways of coping with the stress.
-Not feeling hungry, nausea, and diarrhea are all digestive-related symptoms that can brought on by grief due to the changes in hormones.
-Weight gain or loss, often stemming from the emotional breakdown that occurs, can be significant in many people.
While the stages of grief are common and expected, not everyone will have the physical symptoms of grief. If these symptoms become commonplace and last beyond a few days, it may be a sign that an individual needs more supportive care to help them through the grieving process. Don’t assume they are okay. Seek out help to get them to the point of healing.