Symptoms of Grief

Grief is a normal response to loss of someone or something important to a person. The process of grief involves all aspects of the person: physical, emotional, behavioral, psychological, social, and spiritual. When a child discloses sexual abuse, a mother experiences grief. The process of grief may affect all areas of her life. Victims also experience grief related to the losses and consequences resulting from sexual abuse. Grief is a an individual process and is unique to each person's life. However, many symptoms are common during the grief experience. Mothers may experience: 

Physical Symptoms
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomachache, backache, or headache
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Inability to sleep
  • Dizziness
  • Appetite change and eating less or more

Emotional Symptoms

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Crying and sighing
  • Restlessness 
  • Forgetfulness or absent-mindedness 
  • Wandering aimlessly
  • Sexual activity reduced or increased
  • Dreams and nightmares
  • Maintaining closeness to reminders or avoiding all reminders
  • Talking to the missing person out loud
  • Needing to tell the story over and over again
  • Avoiding talking about the loss
  • Either hyperactive or underactive
  • Apathy or lack of interest in activity
  • Drinking or using drugs to cope

Psychological Symptoms

  • Feeling trance-like
  • Sense of unreality or emptiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness 
  • Hallucinations
  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Self-blame

Social Symptoms

  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Becoming dependent on others
  • Loneliness
  • Overly sensitive
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Sense of abandonment
  • Isolation

Spiritual Symptoms

  • Doubting or questioning God or personal belief system
  • Disappointment in established religion or church
  • Feeling angry at or betrayed by God 
  • Becoming preoccupied with death
  • Sensing the presence of a spiritual being
  • Loss of faith
  • Lack of meaning and purpose in life 


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