Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

Complicated Grief Treatment in Wylie, TX

Any person who has dealt with the loss of a loved one understands the complexity of the grieving process. Usually, we can expect the negative emotions associated with grief to dissipate slowly over time as we begin to heal from our loss and move forward in our lives. This experience typically involves a series of phases that can occur across any length of time, and include:

  • Accepting the reality of the loss
  • Feeling the pain from the loss
  • Adjusting to life without that loved one’s presence in it
  • Developing new relationships

Unfortunately, many individuals are unable to progress through their bereavement, which is then classified as a condition called persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD), or complicated grief. Dr. Ashley Gardner provides treatment options tailored specifically to those with persistent complex bereavement disorder. To learn more about Dr. Gardner’s experience and approach, please call (214) 997-4459 to schedule an appointment.

Online Treatment Options

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Gardner now offers telepsychiatry to benefit you from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about our telepsychiatry services!

Symptoms of Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

Soon after the loss of a loved one, symptoms of PCBD will be identical to those of regular grief. It is only over time that it becomes clear as to whether the person can accept this loss in their life, or if they are suffering from a state of mourning that lingers or worsens.

Individuals who experience persistent complex bereavement disorder often report several of the following symptoms:

  • Intense focus on the loved one’s death
  • Persistent longing for the person who has passed
  • Difficulty in trusting others
  • Problems in performing essential daily functions
  • Loss of interest or meaning in one’s own life
  • Detachment from others
  • Difficulty in reflecting on positive memories of the loved one who has passed
  • Feelings of deep sadness, bitterness, or self-blame
  • Isolating oneself from social activities
  • Guilt over the loved one’s death and how you could have prevented it
  • Hallucinations
  • Thoughts of suicide

Once again, it is important to remember that some of these symptoms can be a natural part of the grieving process. The key difference is that individuals tend to progress through this journey over time until these symptoms eventually improve. Generally, if you have experienced intense bereavement for over a year, it may be best to contact your doctor or a specialist for support.

Factors That Influence Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

There is no definitive cause of PCBD, though there are several situations and factors that can increase risk, including:

  • High stress levels
  • Past trauma or traumatic grief
  • Having a poor support system
  • Being a female
  • Having been a caregiver to the person who passed, in their final days

Individuals who suffer from persistent complex bereavement disorder may also experience increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit substances, and poor academic or professional performance. Together, these characteristics often result in a lowered quality of life, and may eventually lead to significant health concerns if left untreated.

Seeking Treatment for PCBD in Wylie, TX

To avoid lifelong impacts caused by persistent complex bereavement disorder, individuals must seek professional treatment. While there is not a specific cure for this disorder, there are many treatment methods that have proven to be highly effective for those that suffer from an extreme loss in their life.

Psychotherapy for Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a technique that can be utilized for individuals that suffer from a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and even grief. This approach is tailored to each patient and is based on exploring their particular symptoms to find positive ways of managing and coping with them.

Many patients who experience PCBD will struggle to deal with their symptoms in a healthy way, which is why it is quite common for those with this disorder to turn to alcohol or other substances to dull their pain and avoid their painful feelings. Psychotherapy is designed to help the patient address emotions in a safe environment and to find healthy coping strategies that work well for them.

Medications to Manage PCBD

There are many types of medications that Dr. Gardner may prescribe based on the patient’s symptoms of persistent complex bereavement disorder. Individuals who experience debilitating sadness may benefit from taking antidepressants to improve their condition.

Contact Dr. Gardner for a Consultation

No two patients are alike, which is why Dr. Gardner takes an individualized approach to each patient she treats for persistent complex bereavement disorder. If you have been struggling with your bereavement process for over a year, are concerned about the intensity of your grieving process please call (214) 997-4459 today to request an appointment.

Call us at (214) 997-4459

COVID-19 Updates

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for your safety we are conducting all appointments via telemedicine (similar to Skype and Facetime) in place of an office visit. This is available to all patients in the state of Texas! Please call the office if you have any questions or refer to our telemedicine instruction page to learn more about telemedicine visits at Pathway Psychiatry.