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The Physical Effects of Grief July 10, 2019

Everyone experiences grief in their own way. Perhaps this is how it should be as we personally adjust to the loss of a loved one. Our personal relationship will play a role as will other factors like length and type of interactions we had with the individual. Grief may be experienced differently depending on our age, the age of the deceased and the circumstances of their death. Grief, of course, can manifest itself in tears, sadness and even depression. There is also often a physical toll from grief. Here are some of those physical effects of which to be aware.


Many times the death of someone close will create sleep problems for someone who is grieving. These issues may make it difficult to get to sleep or make sleep restless. Of course, over time, this lack of sleep can cause a variety of other health issues. Caution needs to be taken when treating sleep issues with medications, especially if they can be addictive. Any medications taken to improve sleep should only come with the recommendations of a physician.

Increase in Use of Alcohol or Other Substances

Finding temporary relief from grief through the increased use of alcohol or other substances may seem understandable. It, however, may simply numb the person to their grief which can cause more serious long-term mental and physical problems. If you notice a significant increase in alcohol in yourself or someone you care about, seek professional assistance.

Heart Problems

Yes, on some level one can have a broken heart from the loss of someone close. Grief can cause stress, an increase in heart rate, hypertension and more. If you or someone you know begins suffering chest pains after the loss of someone close, medical attention should be sought immediately.

A Weakened Immune System

Experiencing grief can weaken the body’s immune system, making a person more susceptible to colds and the flu. Those who suffer from chronic health issues may notice an increase in the severity of their symptoms.

Lack of Hunger

It is important that those who are grieving stay hydrated and maintain a proper diet. Grief can cause the appetite to be suppressed and not only can result in a weakening of the immune system but to significant weight loss.

Weight Gain

While there are those who may lose their appetite when grieving others can react conversely, eating out of angst and stress. These people may seek comfort by constantly eating or snacking. This can lead to weight gain that can become difficult to manage.

Find Support and Help

It can be easy to dismiss the effects of grief as “normal”. When they begin having physical ramifications, however, they need to be addressed. You may find help in a number of local and national support groups and online communities. You may also benefit from visiting a medical doctor.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes, one of the first things we stress to grieving families is the importance of taking care of themselves and each other. Grieving is not just challenging mentally and emotionally, it also can take a physical toll. Monitor these signals and be sure to address them. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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