Doctor, My Close Friend Died and I am Still Grieving

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Wai-Man (Raymond) Liu, PhDAssociate ProfessorResearch School of Finance, Actuarial Studies & StatisticsCollege of Business & Economics BuildingThe Australian National UniversityProf. Wai-Man (Raymond) Liu, PhD
Associate Professor
Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies & Statistics
College of Business & Economics Building
The Australian National University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In our study, we studied survey responses of over 26,000 people from the largest Australian household survey over a period of 14 years. The survey was funded by the government called “The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey”. The survey was conducted by the Melbourne Institute.

In the survey more than 9,500 of these respondents had experienced the death of a close friend.

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How Do Men Express Grief After Pregnancy Loss?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Haley Kranstuber Horstman, Ph.D.Department of CommunicationUniversity of Missouri

Dr. Kranstuber Horstman

Haley Kranstuber Horstman, Ph.D.
Department of Communication
University of Missouri

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Miscarriage is a prevalent health concern, with one in five pregnancies ending in miscarriage, which is a pregnancy loss before 20 weeks’ gestation. Past research has shown that women who have miscarried often suffer mental health effects such as heightened grief, depression, loneliness, and suicidality.

Although much of the research on coping with miscarriage has focused on women’s health, many miscarriages occur within romantic relationships and affect the non-miscarrying partner as well. Women in heterosexual marriages report that their husband is often their top support-provider. Past research has shown that husbands suffer with mental health effects after a miscarriage, sometimes for even longer than their wives, but are not often supported in their grief because miscarriage is a “woman’s issue” and they feel uncomfortable talking about it.

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Health Consequences for the Bereaved

Health Consequences for the Bereaved

Bereaved elderly spouses have a 30-90% mortality rate in the first three months following spousal death and a 15% mortality rate in the following months. Often called the “widowhood effect” this well researched phenomenon illustrates clearly that grief has a real and profound impact on one’s health. Whether the death is impending or entirely unexpected, the loss of a loved one has predictable adverse consequences on the health of those left behind. It can be especially traumatic for those who have lost a loved one in a car crash or a work accident. They will have to go to someone like the Bill Berenson Injury Law Firm to get compensation for their loss. This could keep reminding them of their lost relative.

Cardiac Consequences

Losing a loved one, particularly a partner or spouse, has been repeatedly shown to increase the risk of cardiac events in the surviving. The development of an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, is more likely in a surviving spouse than in those not grieving. Presence of an atrial fibrillation can lead to cardiac complications such as stroke, angina, and heart failure. Further, the release of large amounts of stress hormones following the death can induce Takotsubo’s cardiomyopathy, which looks and feels like a real heart attack and can, in rare cases, lead to sudden death. Research has also shown that surviving siblings of those who died of a heart attack have a greatly increased risk for dying of a heart attack themselves in the years following the death.

Immune Response

Neutrophils are white blood cells that play an important role in the body’s immune system. Research has shown that among older subjects, the loss of a loved one has a detrimental impact on the functioning of neutrophils. Whether this denigration of function is purely a result of the loss or as a result of increased cortisol in the system is yet to be determined. In any event, the result is the same. In older bereaved, immune system functionality is compromised during grief leaving the person more susceptible to infection, disease, and even death.

Mental Health Considerations

Loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, insomnia, feelings of isolation, inability to make decisions, and confusion are all common symptoms while grieving. If the bereaved does not have support from others during this difficult period they run the risk of falling into a clinical depression. Particularly if the death was sudden, tying up loose ends and dealing with unfinished business can promote anxiety, which impacts the person’s ability to manage daily life.

Coping Mechanisms

Oftentimes those who have lost a loved one turn to alcohol, smoking, drugs, and other unhealthy habits. Naturally these coping mechanisms bring about numerous health concerns. The loss of interest or ability to maintain adequate sleep and exercise exacerbate the problem.

The loss of a loved one represents the most difficult period of most people’s lives. Physical, emotional, and mental health decline only make it that much harder to endure. Proper support, self care, and time can work to improve outcomes.

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Sep 28, 2018 @ 11:55 am

 

Loss of a Sibling In Childhood Increases Short and Long Term Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yongfu Yu, PhD Department of Clinical Epidemiology Aarhus University Hospital Aarhus N, Denmark

Dr. Yong Yu

Dr. Yongfu Yu, PhD
Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Aarhus University Hospital
Aarhus, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Bereavement by the death of a close relative is ranked as one of the most severe life events and it is likely to cause psychological stress regardless of coping mechanisms. An increased risk of mortality and adverse health outcomes has been observed among the bereaved spouses, parents, and children. It is estimated that nearly 8% of individuals in the US experienced a sibling death in childhood but much less is known about its health consequences. Sibling relationship tends to be the longest and the most intimate in family thus the death of a sibling can be a devastating life event, especially when this event happens at early ages. However, to our knowledge, no study has investigated the effects of sibling death in childhood on subsequent mortality in bereaved siblings with a long follow-up time.

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Suicide A Risk Factor for Mental Health Issues, Suicide in Bereaved

Dr Alexandra Pitman MBBS MRC Psych MRC Clinical Research Fellow, UCL Division of Psychiatry, UCL (University College LondonMedicalResearch.com interview with:
Dr Alexandra Pitman MBBS MRC Psych
MRC Clinical Research Fellow,
UCL Division of Psychiatry, UCL (University College London


MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We conducted a systematic review of all published research comparing the experience of suicide bereavement with bereavement due to other causes, in which we considered the evidence from 57 studies evaluating the effect of bereavement on death, mental health, and social functioning of family members, friends, and other close contacts of the deceased. These studies showed that parents and children bereaved by suicide were at higher risk of mental health problems after the loss than parents and children bereaved by other causes, and that spouses and mothers bereaved by suicide were at higher risk of suicide than spouses and mothers bereaved by other causes. We also found some evidence that people from a range of kinship groups bereaved by suicide report more rejection and shame than people bereaved by other violent deaths, and that feeling stigmatised by the death is commonly experienced after any violent bereavement. It seemed that people bereaved by violent deaths, for example due to accidental death, homicide, drug-related death, motor vehicle crash, undetermined death or suicide, shared a sense of feeling blamed for the death or tainted by their association with the deceased. Continue reading