Can Bereavement Cause Depression?

by Elizabeth Postle, RN, HV, FWT

Grief can cause depression but the sadness of grief and depression are not the same thing.  

Everyone who is grieving will be sad, and emotions are triggered by memories, songs, places and anniversaries.  But after a while, memories become bittersweet and it can be a pleasure to look back on happy times.  

Grief should not stop you from being able to function, to work and to enjoy the company of friends even if there are times when you are very sad and need to have a good cry.   

Some people, however, can tip over from the sadness of grief into depression and sometimes  severe debilitating depression can be caused by grief especially if the loss was sudden, traumatic or caused by violence or disaster. The anxiety and heartache of loss should not be taken lightly. 

It helps to understand what is normal grief and what is depression so you know when to get help. 

We have recently published a page which lays out 65 common reactions to grief.  You can have a look at those here, or just check out the image below. 

65 Common Reactions to Grief

You might experience any combination of a few or many of the above reactions.  All of that is perfectly normal.  But if they go on for a long time or start to disrupt your life, you many find that you can tip over into depression.  

Some signs of depression can be:

Physical signs such as:

  • feeling tired all the time,
  • run down, 
  • having aches and pains
  • either sleeping too much or too little
  • you might have gained or lost weight. 

Feelings such as: 

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • misery
  • lack of motivation

Other symptoms such as: 

  • Negative thoughts and lack of self-esteem
  • Not going out
  • Unable to work
  • Not seeing friends
  • Smoking, drinking, taking drugs or eating too much
Two heads of a girl crying.  Text - Break the Negative Cycle

If you have any of the above signs or symptoms and they last more than a couple of weeks, consider consulting a doctor or counselor.  

Sadly people who have never suffered the loss of a close loved one do not always understand your pain and will not be able to help.  Depression needs the help of an expert professional.  Get help and counselling if you feel you are not coping well. It is time to care for yourself.

We recommend online grief counseling from BetterHelp's highly qualified expert counselors.  You can read more about how it works here.  

Related Pages: 

Can Bereavement Cause Mental Illness? 

Can Bereavement Cause OCD?

Can Bereavement Cause PTSD? 

Where to get help: 

Have You Considered One-on-One Online Grief Counseling? 

Get Expert and Effective Help in the Comfort of Your Own Home

The following information about online counseling is sponsored by 'Betterhelp' but all the opinions are our own. To be upfront, we do receive a commission when you sign up with 'Betterhelp', but we have total faith in their expertise and would never recommend something we didn't completely approve.  

Do you feel alone and sad with no support and no idea how to move forward?  It can be tough when you are stuck in grief to find the motivation to get the most out of your precious life. 

Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.

  • 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.
  • Or read more about how online counseling works here.  
Woman Crying. Get Started with Online Counselling

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Hypnosis for Grief - 10 Ways It Can Help You

Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.  

Read more about it here. 

For Remembrance: 

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Heart Shaped Sterling Silver Pendant for Cremation Ashes, Engraved Forever Loved

Memorial Jewelry to Honour a Loved One

Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one.  Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles.  Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift. 

Click here to see our selection

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Honour your loved one with their own memorial website.  Share photos, videos, memories and more with your family and friends in a permanent online website.  Free for basic plan with no ads. 

Find out more here. 

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Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.  

The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day! 

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NEW BONUS - Also receive a copy of our short eBook - '99 Ways to Spot a Great Grief Counselor'.  Available for instant download as soon as you sign up. Never waste money on poor counseling again! 

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