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Mourning Death of Loved One Raises Your Risk of Dying
Date:12/7/2007

First month after loss is most vulnerable time, review shows

FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The grieving that follows a loved one's death can increase your risk of death, from suicide as well as other causes, a new review shows.

The most vulnerable period was the first 30 days following the loss.

More research needs to be done on targeting high-risk individuals and on what interventions might be helpful, according to the article in the Dec. 8 issue of The Lancet.

"There is a strong need for more evaluation of the efficacy of psychotherapeutic intervention programs for bereaved people, to better establish: (1) what type of help is [most] effective; (2) who precisely benefits from it; and (3) under what circumstances positive results are most likely to occur," said study author Margaret Stroebe, special chair of the Research Institute for Psychology and Health at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, in association with the Dutch Association for Grief Counseling. "Bereavement intervention is not indicated for all bereaved persons, just on the grounds that they have suffered the loss of a loved person... We need to increase understanding and channel resources to those who do need and are likely to benefit from professional help."

Even in the 21st century, grief carries with it a stigma that is hard to erase.

"So often in our society, grief is still viewed as something abnormal. You have to go back to work within two days, if you're lucky, five days," said Rebekah Lancto, bereavement coordinator at Metropolitan Jewish Hospice and Metropolitan Jewish Palliative Care, in New York City. "It doesn't go away six months later. In fact, that may be when grief really hits you, but life goes on, and people ask you why aren't you happy."

According to this article, death of a spouse is highly stressful and ranks as the life event needing the most "readjustment."

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