The Main Differences Between Normal and Complicated Grief

Everyone develops coping mechanisms following the loss of a loved one. While we may all have our approaches and outlook when it comes to surviving through the emotions of loss, the term used to identify such an act is universally known by only one word—grief.

It takes time to mourn, and even more so to live an everyday life after everything. However, did you know that there are also two types of grief that one may experience throughout the ordeal?

Both normal and complicated grief can occur after a loss, and depending on a person’s inner strength, they may experience one over the other.

If you happen to know someone who is experiencing a similar situation, it would be good to learn the differences between the two, to help you identify their current condition and how to best help them with their struggles:

Normal Grief

This type of grief is associated with the coping mechanism that enables a person to mourn for a shorter period, after which they will be able to live an everyday life again. In most cases, normal grief isn’t as severe as complicated grief. If the person who passed away had already lived their life to the fullest and they were able to reach a ripe old age, then their loved ones would most likely have little to no struggle coping with their loss.

Now, this form of grief was easier to go through doesn’t mean that their experience was wholeheartedly pleasant. They may show signs of struggles through crying, lack of sleep, lack of energy, loss of appetite, and isolation. These things can easily be mitigated well enough to channel their old self and go back to their usual activities right after their mourning stage. 

If you happen to have a friend or a loved one going through the same thing, be sure to lend them a helping hand and a listening ear to help them through their emotions. Positive reinforcement is the key, and they will most likely need guidance to cope until the very end.

Complicated Grief

While normal grief is easier to handle, complicated grief may need more care and attention, especially as it lasts longer than the former. The person experiencing it may struggle so much that they may do something irrational and risky. 

Their struggles are usually evident through irritation, anger, an inability to focus on everyday tasks, depression, bitterness, low self-esteem, and even drug abuse. They may need professional help to guide them through a challenging phase, much so that they may need more than one session at a time.

That said, make sure never to ignore the signs. Get help when you know that a loved one is going through this. The earlier they will get helped, the easier it will be for them to cope with their emotions and struggles.


Going through the loss of a loved one is tricky, much so living a normal life after they’re already long gone. However, one does not have to be trapped in that loop of negative emotions. Feel free to lend a helping hand to a person who is going through the same struggle. 

Whether they have normal or complicated grief, be sure to listen to their woes and guide them towards a life still filled with hope. Everyone goes through loss; it is a natural part of our life. Show them that the end of a person’s life doesn’t have to result at the end of another. After all, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. 

If you want to help your loved one get their life back on track after a loss, you may need to find a life coach. Eightlimfit offers the best virtual services nationwide, but we also provide door-to-door services in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Our specializations range from grief and health up to relationships and careers. Book a consultation today!