Complicated Grief in Teens

Everyone deals with loss at at least one point in their life, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Losing someone close to you can take a significant toll on your mental and emotional health. Even though you will always miss them, the initial sadness and anger that can stem from losing a loved one will ease with time. But for some, the grieving process seems to never end.

While there isn’t a set time limit on grief, a prolonged period of grieving without improvement may be the sign of a mental health disorder. While grief is a natural and healthy response to a loss, complicated grief is a disorder that requires support and treatment.

What is Complicated Grief?

Complicated grief, sometimes called prolonged grief, refers to the duration and severity of symptoms associated with bereavement that extend longer than what would be considered typical by social, cultural or religious standards.

While there is also no set time frame for what can be diagnosed as complicated grief, typical grief normally lessens over the course of several weeks. People who experience complicated grief may take months or years to go through the bereavement process, with the symptoms persisting, and even worsening over time.

Common symptoms of complicated grief include:

  • Severe negative feelings, such as sadness and anger
  • Feelings of self-blame or guilt
  • Intense longing for the person who has passed
  • Inability to focus on anything except your loss
  • Struggling to accept the loss
  • Excessive focus on reminders of the loss, or complete avoidance
  • Self-harm or suicidality

How Can Lightfully Teen Treat Complicated Grief?

Complicated grief symptoms can interfere with your ability to carry out your daily responsibilities, such as your schoolwork and extracurricular activities. The negative emotions and thoughts can also make you want to be alone, causing you to isolate yourself from friends and family. But Lightfully Teen can help move you through the grieving process in a healthy way.

We use a clinical model called process-based therapy to walk you through the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that stem from your complicated grief. By looking at how your grief has influenced your overall well-being, we can help treat you beyond your diagnosis.

Process-based therapy focuses on using integrated interventions, such as mindful interventions and family interventions, to help you work through the four core processes that you may experience with complicated grief:

  • Difficulty with emotions
  • Difficulty with thoughts
  • Difficulty with behaviors
  • Difficulty with relationships

Lightfully Teen Can Help Treat Your Complicated Grief?

The point of treating complicated grief isn’t to make you forget about the loss of your loved one. The goal is to help move you through the grieving process so that you can continue to grow and live a fulfilling life with the fond memories and feelings you have for them.

Process-based therapy can help your complicated grief in our three levels of care: Residential Treatment, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also called our Day Treatment Program.

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