Should You Take Antidepressants When You Are Grieving?

Should You Take Antidepressants When You Are Grieving?
I have worked with many clients who come into therapy seeking counseling after a traumatic event in their lives such as a death in the family. Regardless of whether it is expected - such as with a long illness or if it was a surprise - such as with a car accident -- death and grief are difficult. And many of these people find themselves battling to just wake up, take a shower, and maybe leave the house.

So what should you do when you feel like there is a 100 ton brick on your head after the death of someone you love? How to you go on? How do you battle feelings of guilt for being the one left to go on. How to you rationalize the unfairness of it all. Because regardless of the circumstances, everyone feels that the death of their loved one is by far unfair. How do you deal with perhaps the guilt of feeling relieved that someone who was in a lot of pain has now passed on? Perhaps you even begin to question your belief system. Is there a God? Is there heaven? Is my loved one there? Can he or she see me, hear me, watch over me?

The questions surrounding death and grief are just too long to list in this article -- but you get the point. It is an emotionally charged and tough time of conflict for all those left behind. And sometimes people cannot find a way out -- they get lost, overwhelmed, and consumed with their feelings and become depressed.

But there is a big debate among the general public about whether "grief" is something that should just be waited out or if antidepressants should be prescribed. Is it REALLY depression or just grief?

The Answer
Well this is the thing. Diagnosing depression is done on a person by person basis. Not based on how the person may have arrived to their depression.

Because actually - someone who is going through clinical depression and just lost a family member -- might actually have been depressed for years but was never diagnosed -- and the death sent him or her to the breaking point.

Also, it may be that a person who has never been depressed before falls into a deep depression after the death of a loved one AND could possibly work through it in a year by themselves, BUT imagine what could happen in a year's time to someone who is severely depressed.
1. suicide
2. isolation - lose friends
3. lose job - no income
4. get into debt
5. abuse alcohol or drugs

The point of recommending antidepressants for someone who is depressed after the death of a loved one, is to give that person a chance to stay on track - to feel as if life is worth living - while they are working through the loss of that person in their lives.

Remember - antidepressants are not recreational drugs. Contrary to some people's beliefs, they do not numb you from the world. They only act as a biochemical band-aid -- while you take the time and the actions to heal yourself.

1. Stay connected to friends/family
2. Talk to a counselor, pastor, priest, etc.
3. Do the things you like to do. Go dancing in honor of that loved one!
4. If you felt there was unfinished business - write a letter to that person and read it out loud
5. Try committing to a light exercise plan. Walk. Roller Skate. Bike Ride. Swim. Dance.

Antidepressants are NOT a replacement for the grieving process, but serve as an additional resource for relief for the person who seems to be unable to work through their depression alone.

Lisa Angelettie, "GirlShrink" is an online advice authority. Her site is the #1 "Advice & Counseling" site on the web and contributing author of "101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life". Instantly get a FREE Bonus when you sign up for her free Better Choices Ezine. Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful mental health resources. Subscribe below.

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