Demoralization and grief

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Demoralization

A sense of threat to or a breakdown of values, standards, and mores in an individual or group, such as may occur in periods of rapid social change, extended crises (e.g., war, economic depression), or personal traumas. A demoralized person may be disheartened and feel helpless, bewildered, and insecure.

Demoralization and grief
Demoralization and grief

Grief

The anguish experienced after significant loss, usually the death of a beloved person.

Bereavement

 The condition of having lost a loved one to death. The bereaved person may experience emotional pain and distress (see grief; traumatic grief) and may or may not express this distress to others (see mourning; disenfranchised grief); individual grief and mourning responses vary. Bereavement may also signify a change in social status (e.g., from wife to widow).

Bereavement is often distinguished from grieving. Some bereavements are not able to produce a strong grief response. Sometimes, grief can include separation anxiety and confusion. Intense grief can cause a disruption in the immune system, self-neglect, and suicidal thoughts. You may feel regret for someone you have lost, remorse, or sadness for something that happened to you.

Demoralization and Grief

The term depression is often used to describe the low or discouraged mood that results from disappointments (eg, financial calamity, natural disaster, serious illness) or losses (eg, death of a loved one). However, better terms for such moods are demoralization and grief.

The negative feelings of demoralization and grief, unlike those of depression, do the following:

  • Occur in waves that tend to be tied to thoughts or reminders of the inciting event.
  • Resolve when circumstances or events improve.
  • It may be interspersed with periods of positive emotion and humor.
  • Are not accompanied by pervasive feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing.

The low mood usually lasts days rather than weeks or months, and suicidal thoughts and prolonged loss of function are much less likely.

However, events and stressors that cause demoralization and grief can also precipitate a major depressive episode, particularly in vulnerable people (eg, those with a past history or family history of major depression).

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