Depression due to the death of a loved one: what it is, symptoms and treatment

Depression is one of the most complex concepts in mental health. Not only does it appear with a wide variety of forms and symptoms, but in addition, as with virtually all mental disorders, there is not a single cause that triggers it.

However, of all the possible experiences that can promote the onset of depressive symptoms, the death of a loved one is known to be one of the most common. This is a relative frequency, because most people who have to deal with grief for such a loss do not develop depression; however, in some cases psychological help is needed.

In this article we will see what it is basic information about depression following the death of a loved one, And what can be done to address it in the best possible way from the treatment of mental health professionals.

    What is depression caused by the death of a loved one?

    Let’s start with the basics: is it a different type of depression? It should be noted that the very idea that there are several types of depression is controversial. In practice, these classifications are used to better describe each of the cases studied, but this does not mean that there are different mental disorders which, beyond some common characteristics, have little to do with each other.

    In this case, the depression due to the death of a loved one cannot be seen as a separate entity as a mental disorder, but rather as a specification of what was one of the main triggers for its onset. .

    So depression from grief it can be experienced in different ways there are different ways of experiencing depression in general. However, there are a number of general aspects which are generally respected. Let’s see what they are.


      One of the big myths about depression is that it basically consists of depression. sadness so intense that it causes a lot of psychological pain, Enough to significantly harm life or even promote the emergence of suicidal ideation.

      While there are times when people with depression feel this way, there are plenty of others who experience it in a whole different way and don’t really feel sad. The most characteristic of depression, whether due to the death of a loved one or friend or to other causes, is the inability to feel joy, excitement or, in some cases, even pleasure, and a lack of initiative and motivation do the most basic activities.

      The inability to experience pleasure, or anhedonia, arises automatically and has nothing to do with how we think about life or existence itself: you don’t have to be extremely cynical or critical of life. society and the world to feel because it is irrational in nature, beyond the limits of reason and language.

      Abulia, or lack of initiative, also arises in a similar fashion. It does not appear because intellectually we do not find reasons to feel motivated by something, but it is expressed as a symptom without more, without the need that we have had to come to a conclusion.


        Treatment of depression through the death of a loved one should always be done by mental health professionals, who in turn should also make a personalized diagnosis. The fact that we feel so bad after the death of a friend or family member does not mean that we take it for granted that we have depression; we have to wait for the specialists to tell us to take our case. Having said that, it is also good to know that in some cases it will be recommended to combine psychotherapy with drug treatment, and in others not.

        Medication relieves symptoms, but a few injections will not make the discomfort go away. Psychotherapy is what can best help us come to terms with that person’s death and want to reintegrate into a world where we can already see or interact with them. like that, the main goal of therapy is acceptance.

        How do you get there? It is not a battle we can do alone, nor something that is up to the therapist alone. It is necessary to be guided by the professional who performs the psychotherapy and to work together. For example, some of these tasks have to do with cognitive restructuring: reviewing our deepest beliefs to exclude those that do not correspond to reality and harm us, to replace them with others.

        It will also indicate other tasks which aim, mainly, not to let us fall into passivity and a way of life far from all activity. This is what behavioral activation work consists of, Widely used in the treatment of depression.

        On the other hand, the role of the family and the patient’s immediate environment is also crucial. Grieving the death of a loved one is much more bearable and enjoys the support of others with whom there is a personal and intimate connection.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Gómez Sancho, M. (2004). The loss of a loved one. Sorrow and mourning. Madrid: Aran editions
        • McCullough, JP Jr (2003). Treatment of Chronic Depression: Psychotherapy Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System (CBASP). New York: Guilford Press.

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