Trauma survivors struggle to move beyond the loss of their loved ones

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Studies show that among individuals who have survived trauma after losing close friends and loved ones, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are complex grief years after trauma (persistent grief and unmanageable sensations). Published by the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Christine Alve Glad, a researcher and author of the Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress, said: the study. “Our findings suggest that early targeting of PTSD symptoms may help them avoid when treating trauma survivors. Complex sadness later”

According to Grad, for most people who experience grief, feelings of distress and bereavement tend to diminish over time. In the case of complex grief, the symptoms often prolong or worsen instead of diminishing, which can impair or prevent people from living a normal life.

“Complex grief is defined as persistent and intense longing, longing, grief, usually accompanied by the inability to accept the deceased’s persistent thoughts and images, distrust, or the painful reality of one’s death. “I will,” said Mr. Glad.

In the study, it was published in the journal Psychological trauma: theory, research, practice and policy, Researchers interviewed survivors of the 2011 domestic terrorist attack on the Norwegian island of Utoya. They lost someone near them in the attack. Of the 275 participants, 256 lost best friends, 6 lost family, and 13 lost best friends and family / partners.

Participants participated in three individual face-to-face interviews with experienced medical personnel after the attack on Utoya, 4-5 months, 14-15 months, and 30-32 months after the attack. .. The interview included questions about post-traumatic stress symptoms and complex grief reactions (eg, struggling to accept the death of a loved one, interfering with grief in daily life, annoying death. Thinking, avoiding loss reminders and emotional isolation or distance from others).

Researchers have found that participants who report symptoms of PTSD are very likely to also report symptoms of complex grief. They also found that participants who experienced the initial symptoms of PTSD one year after the attack experienced even greater symptoms of complex grief a few years later.

“The fact that PTSD symptoms predicted a complex grief response at a later point in time, but complex grief did not predict the onset of PTSD is interesting. Targeting PTSD symptoms later developed complex grief. It suggests that it could prevent it. ” happy. “This may have important implications for clinicians working with bereaved trauma survivors.”

Researchers believe that the effects of terrorist attacks on survivors were particularly severe, not only because they lost their loved ones, but because they were also directly exposed to the attacks. This dual burden of unexpected loss and high exposure of survivors to trauma can result in PTSD symptoms and complex trajectories of sadness that differ from those of undirected survivors. trauma..

According to Grad, these findings could apply to anyone who has lost a loved one in a way that can cause trauma. Knowledge of the relationship between PTSD symptoms and complex symptoms sorrow Over time, researchers say it may help clinicians develop more effective treatment strategies and develop better treatment plans for the most difficult survivors. Stated.

Sleep disorders can complicate the process of sadness

For more information:
“A longitudinal association between post-traumatic stress symptoms and complex grief. Random intercept cross-lag analysis.” Psychological trauma: theory, research, practice, policy, Published online on August 16, 2021. DOI: 10.1037 / tra0001087

Quote: Trauma survivors are struggling to move beyond the loss of their loved ones (August 16, 2021).

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Trauma survivors struggle to move beyond the loss of their loved ones

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