Health

Physical Symptoms of Grief

If you or someone you know has suffered a loss recently, you have probably noticed some emotions and other symptoms coming up. In the midst of everything that is coming up for you in your time of loss, there may be some surprising things you are noticing.

Some of those surprising things you may be noticing are physical symptoms. You may associate grief with the emotional reactions like crying, but there are many other physical symptoms that can result from grief. Following are some of the physical symptoms of grief:

Fatigue and Exhaustion

Grief can cause sleep disruption. Since the body and brain use sleep time to rest and repair themselves, losing out on sleep during a period of grief can compound the physical effects of sleep loss. On top of the already tumultuous time your mind and body are going through due to grief, losing sleep can also prevent the body and brain from fully resting and making any needed repairs.

Grief can also lead to insomnia, which can worsen fatigue and exhaustion during the day. While fatigue, sleep disruption, and even insomnia can be normal during a time of grief, these physical symptoms should only be temporary. If these symptoms continue, you should consult your doctor.

Digestive Issues

Grief can cause people to feel immense stress, and during times of stress eating habits can be disrupted, which can lead to digestive issues. You may find yourself over- or under-eating during times of stress and grief, which can cause digestive issues.

Other digestive issues that are common during periods of grief are upset stomach, loss of appetite, nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Heart Issues

Like digestive issues, stress can also cause heart issues. People who have lost loved ones are particularly at increased risk for heart attacks. With that in mind, you should be aware of any chest pain or shortness of breath if you are grieving and feeling the associated stress.

Decreased Immunity

Again, the stress hormones released during times of grief cause a variety of physical symptoms, another of which is decreased immunity. If stress during a time of grief has caused your immune system to lower, you may find yourself more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other infections.

Body Aches

Another set of symptoms associated with the stress hormones released during times of grief are body aches and pains. When high levels of stress hormones are released during periods of grief, the muscles are affected, and this could lead to joint pain, back pain, stiffness, and more. Like many of the other symptoms, body aches and pain should be temporary.

Symptoms associated with grief should be temporary. If they persist, you should consult your doctor. In the short term, if you are having a difficult time coping with your grief and possibly the physical symptoms associated with it, seek out grief support

There may be a support group locally in your area, or you can find a group virtually. If you prefer one-on-one support, you can search for a therapist to help you in your time of grief.     

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