Can Bereavement Cause Memory Loss?  

Memory loss is quite a common symptom after a bereavement, along with confusion, inability to concentrate, feeling that you are going crazy.  

But you're not losing your mind.  Grief is a huge trauma and you are reeling from the shock of your loss.  It's not surprising that you can't think straight.  You have so much to process and and it takes a while to come to terms with your new world order.  

It happens to all of us from time to time that we can't remember day to day things.  But when you have suffered a loss in your life, you are much more prone to those forgetful moments.  Your brain is occupied with processing your bereavement.  You may have become numb with shock which can last days, weeks or even months.  You might not be sleeping well.  It's not surprising then, that you might forget a lot of little day to day things.  

Woman with Baby looking like she can't remember something.
  • You find yourself driving in the wrong direction because you are automatic pilot when your brain is occupied with something else.  
  • You forget where you put things. 
  • You might miss an appointment because you have forgotten you made it or what day it is. 
  • You forget things that people have told you on the phone.  

The good news is that in most cases, as you get over your loss, your memory will go back to normal but give yourself time and don't panic about memory loss - that will only add to your anxiety.  

Complicated grief and memory loss

Complicated grief is when grief goes on for longer than normal and has a severe impact on your quality of life.  You may be suffering from complicated grief if: 

  • you are finding it difficult to think about anything other than your lost loved one, 
  • you replay the circumstances of their death over and over
  • you are constantly pining for them and missing them
  • you are unable to look back at happy memories of the deceased person
  • you can't find any pleasure or meaning in life
  • your intense mourning has been going on for a long period of time without fading or becoming easier to bear

If you are feeling like this, it is probable that you have become stuck in this heightened state of grief from which you cannot heal on your own.  

Studies have shown that those who have complicated grief often have memory loss where they are unable to remember every day things, but on the other hand, can remember with extreme clarity everything to do with the person they have lost.  

If you think this could be you, it is essential to get some help.  Call your doctor or a counselor, or use the confidential online counseling service we recommend below.  

You can read more about online grief counseling and how it works here.  

Get Private and Confidential Help in the Privacy of Your Own Home

  • Simply fill out the online questionnaire and you will be assigned the expert grief counselor most suitable for you.  It only takes a few minutes and you don't even have to use your name.  
  • Pay an affordable FLAT FEE FOR UNLIMITED SESSIONS.  
  • Contact your counselor whenever you like by chat, messaging, video or phone. 
  • You can change counselor at any time if you wish.
  • Click here to find out more and get started immediately. 
Woman Crying. Get Started with Online Counselling

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Self-Help Hypnosis Downloads

Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind and help you cope with your grief. We recommend Hypnosis Downloads which have been created especially for those who are grieving by qualified specialists in medical hypnotherapy.

Choose from this list of grief and loss tracks for your specific type of loss.  


Memorial Magnolia Tree

The Magnolia is one of the earth's oldest plants, with a spectacular flower which dates back 95 million years.  What a beautiful specimen to commemorate a life. 

These trees are grown by the foremost magnolia nursery in the country and they will send a variety most suited to the recipient's climate. 

The flowers in spring will bring joy to the bereaved and help to heal their heart.

Related Pages: 

How grief affects health

Early signs of Alzheimer's 

More bereavement questions answered

> > Can Bereavement Cause Memory Loss?


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