Grief Versus Depression

Is there a difference in grief versus depression? How do you know which it is that you are feeling? Can sorrow turn into something else?

Grieving is a healthy, normal response to the loss of someone or something you love. During the initial weeks, months, or year after experiencing your loss, if you attempt to numb the pain of what you're feeling with anti-depressants or alcohol, grief versus depression you may only succeed in delaying the healing process. It may not feel good, but it is better to just face the grieving process in all its stages head on and get it over with.

Physical symptoms of: loss of appetite, sleeplessness, generalized pain, headaches, or more can exist with both situations. The behavioral symptoms of withdrawing from society/those you love, mood swings or poor concentration are also shared behavioral responses. So, how do you know when your grief has turned to something else?

If you are experiencing thoughts of worthlessness, guilt, thoughts of suicide, slowed movements, an inability to function at home or work and this has continued for more than one year, you could be suffering from depression.

If you are suffering from this clinical state, you may need to seek professional guidance to assist you find ways to cope with what has happened. Depression can be treated with or without anti-depressants, with or without herbs (there are excellent herbal treatments available now).

One thing you will need is a guide, a mentor, a counselor who is versed in dealing with issues related to bereavement and who can figure out if you are feeling grief versus depression. If you opt to take medication, do not consider this the "magic pill!!" You still need counseling to help you learn coping techniques. The medication alone is not the fix.

Because you are not taught how to grieve, you might find it useful to talk to someone who is familiar with the grieving process, someone who is versed in bereavement issues. You can check with a Hospice agency in your area for possible referrals. If you have been involved with a hospice agency, bereavement services are provided to you for a year from the time of your loss.

There are resources such as or which may be of some assistance in finding someone who is trained in the grieving process. Really try to find someone who is trained in this area for grief counseling, not just any counselor. While they may have had some training in the area of grief while in school, if they don't eat drink and sleep the bereavement process, they may not be as helpful to you.

Return to Coping With Grief from Grief Versus Depression


Continue to When Grief and Trauma Collide

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