How Can You Differentiate Grief From Depression?

Posted on October 22, 2020 by AmericanHeritage under Grief & Healing
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Young attractive latin woman lying at home living room couch feeling sad tiredThere exists a very fine line between grief and depression. In fact, most symptoms are the same: you feel depressed, you experience a loss of appetite, you lose interest in the activities you used to take pleasure in. Did you know that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders specifically lists grief as an exception in the diagnosis of clinical depression? Following the death of a loved one, the bereavement process can look and feel very much like depression, but there are subtle differences.


“The New Grief”

No matter how much things have changed throughout the course of human history, one thing that hasn’t changed is the process of death and bereavement. However, new strides in medical advancement have meant that individuals can now live up to years after a terminal illness diagnosis. This gives loved ones time to make plans for funeral services as well as prepare themselves emotionally. This phenomenon has been termed “the new grief” as there is no historical precedence for it: loved ones leaving the world unexpectedly has often led to loose ends needing to be tied up, hampering the grieving process.

The Fine Line Between Grief and Depression

After the death of a loved one, a close-knit community of extended family members and friends often step up to support the bereaved survivors. This can be something as simple as leaving a pre-cooked meal on your doorstep or offering to make a grocery run. Here lies one key difference between grief and depression: depressed individuals often feel isolated and disconnected from the wider community and will reject such offers of help. Hence, it is important to know how to accept help during the grieving process for your emotional wellbeing.

Furthermore, individuals with a history of or genetic predisposition to depression may find themselves slipping back into it during the bereavement process. In such cases, professional treatment including therapy and antidepressant medication is recommended.

Coping with Grief

It is important to recognize that grieving is not a straightforward process. You can feel it more strongly on some days than others. Some people may feel numb immediately following the death of a loved one, only to experience strong emotions weeks or months later. Some ways that can help you cope with grief are:

  • Let grief run its course and do not try to pretend everything is okay. Expect to experience some disruptions to your daily routine such as insomnia or loss of appetite. You need to let it happen before you can move forward.
  • Build a support network around you. Do not shut out those who care for you – reach out to friends or family members when you need someone to talk to.
  • Seek professional help if you suspect that your grief may be escalating into depression.

Start The Grieving Process with A Meaningful Funeral Service for Your Loved One

When a loved one passes, it can feel like it’s easier to take care of things as simply as possible. However, someone has to say it: you can never go back and do it over. Let American Heritage Cemetery Funeral Home Crematory craft a meaningful funeral service to commemorate your loved one, one that you will be thankful you held when you look back.

If you need help planning a suitable service for your loved one, contact us through our online form today. We walk you through the entire process to ensure the most stress-free experience so you can focus entirely on your loved one.