Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD)
Prolonged Grief Disorder is a mental health disorder consisting of a distinct set of symptoms following the death of a family member or close friend, which might otherwise be called bereavement.
People experiencing prolonged grief disorder are often preoccupied by grief and feelings of loss to the point of significant distress which impairs day-to-day functioning.
PGD is associated with a variety of symptoms including depression, emotional pain, emotional numbness, loneliness and problems managing interpersonal relationships.
Difficulty in accepting the loss is also common, which often results in ruminating about the death, a strong desire to be reunited with the departed, or a disbelief that the death even occurred.
Although most people will recognise the symptoms of prolonged grief disorder as being what most people would experience following the loss of a close friend or relative, it is classified as a mental disorder if it persists beyond a year and the symptoms occur on an almost daily basis.
Prolonged Grief Disorder Symptoms
According the the DSM, to be diagnosed with prolonged grief disorder the sufferer must have lost their loved one at least one year ago and experience the following two symptoms on a daily basis for at least the last month:
- Intense yearning for the deceased
- Preoccupied with thoughts of the deceased person
Additionally, sufferers must also have had at least three of the following symptoms daily during the last month:
- A feeling like part of oneself has died since the death (identity disruption)
- A feeling of disbelief about the death
- Avoiding being reminded that the person is dead
- Intense emotional pain such as anger, bitterness or sorrow
- Difficulty with social connection
- A lacl of interest and motibation in doing much
- Emotional numbness
- Feeling that life is meaningless
- Intense loneliness
Diagnosis of Prolonged Grief Disorder
Technically, only a psychiatrist can diagnose a prolonged grief disorder, but in the UK general practitioners have tended to diagnose mental health problems by using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The DSM lists specific symptoms against a range of disorders and whenever a person meets this criteria, they are said to be suffering from that disorder.
Diagnostic procedures do NOT make use of medical testing (for example blood tests) in order to produce a diagnosis, but rather is an opinion based on the observation of certain behaviours in the person who is suffering.
Because of this lack of verifiable medical testing, diagnosis remains a controversial subject, particularly within the psychological community.
However, in the UK access to support services is often contingent on receiving a diagnosis, so in this sense, a formal diagnosis may be useful.
Getting a Mental Health Diagnosis
Please be aware that Lee Psychology do not diagnose mental health disorders.
Our psychological counselling services do not require you to have been formally diagnosed but should you wish to obtain a formal mental health diagnosis, then please contact your GP who can arrange it for you.
Counselling for Prolonged Grief Disorder
We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Prolonged Grief Disorder and related problems.
Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:
- How long you have had the problem.
- Your personal preferences.
- How your problem is affecting you today.
You can read more about the different types of therapy for anxiety on the following links:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Prolonged Grief Disorder
- The CORE programme for Prolonged Grief Disorder
- Counselling for PGD
Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.
Research suggests that this therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.
Psychiatry Through the Looking Glass
Read what the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) and the United Nations (U.N.) said recently about the biomedical models of mental illness on Psychology Today.
Common Mental Disorders
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Depersonalisation Disorder
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Prolonged Grief Disorder
- Separation Anxiety Disorder