Impact of Grief on Mental Health

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Impact of Grief on Mental Health

Grief is an emotion that we all have encountered at some point in our lives whether it be from the loss of a loved one to loss of a job. These are times when we want to ignore these feelings since they cause so much discomfort , in such situations we avoid processing this emotion. However this leads to many consequences that our mental health has to suffer through.

Grief refers to the anguish experienced after significant loss, usually the death of a loved one.  In this regard, Elizabeth Kubler Ross is one of the pioneers in the field of grief research who introduced the “KUBLER ROSS MODEL” in her book “DEATH AND DYING”.

The Kubler Ross Model , states that those experiencing grief go through a series of 5 emotions:


DENIAL- “This cannot be happening to me, this isn’t real”

This stage of grief where an individual is in denial of the whole situation ever happened as a defense mechanism to shield themselves from the pain .

ANGER- “Why did it have to be me? this is not fair!”

People here tend to feel resentment, misplace feelings of rage and jealousy.

BARGAINING- “If I just had a second chance I would…”

In this stage the person engages in finding ways to delay the loss from occurring. Here the person tried to make an exchange for example reforming their lifestyle in exchange of a second chance.

DEPRESSION-“What’s the point of it all…”

When the individual understands the reality, they may become silent, stay along, prefer no company. In such a stage the dying person processes real grief and disconnects oneself from all things they love.

ACCEPTANCE- “Things will be okay”

Final acceptance of the reality of dying or death sets in that is coming to terms with the loss.

Symptoms of grief may involve shock, disbelief, frustration, physical exhaustion,  inability to do normal tasks, sleeping problems, indigestion, thoughts of self harm , inability to concentrate, guilt, embarrassment, high stress levels, etc. Some people may not be able to process what has happened, which might lead them to adopt maladaptive ways of coping with the grief. It could be excessive drinking, smoking, engaging in self harm and many more.

Grief Brain is one such consequence of grief where individuals undergo changes inside their brains in the form of  reduced concentration, cognition, memory where these systems get negatively impacted . However if these symptoms last longer it can lead to the diagnosis of prolonged grief disorder.


Grief is something that is very painful to process but it is very important to work through. Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s stages of grief provide us with valuable information to understand how grief is processed by individuals and according to her people go through at least two of the stages. Not working through these emotions may make the person vulnerable to mental health disorders.

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