Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

Losing a loved one is one of the most distressing and, unfortunately, common experiences people face. Most people experiencing normal grief and bereavement have a period of sorrow, numbness, and even guilt and anger. Gradually these feelings ease, and it’s possible to accept loss and move forward.

For some people, feelings of loss are debilitating and don’t improve even after time passes. This is known as complicated grief, sometimes called persistent complex bereavement disorder. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble recovering from the loss and resuming your own life.


Cluster Number:
Wiki Number: PW160
Diagnosis: Complex Bereavement and Complicated Grief Disorders
US Patients: A minority of the bereaved population
World Patients:
Sex Ratio: F
Age Onset: 61+
Brain Area:
Symptoms: Grief and functional impairment last more than 6-12 months; continuous emotional dysregulaton, social isolation & suicidal thoughts
Progression: Non-western cultures appear to retain the grief and difficulties longer than Western cultures.
Causes: conditions prior to the death, major depression, PTSD and sleep disorders, often make it worse. Low income, pessimistic
Therapies: CGT-Complicated Grief Therapy-a helpful 16-week therapy session.


The world-wide medical research
reports chosen for each diagnosis 

Clicking each title opens the
PubMed article’s summary-abstract.

  • Grief Reaction
    by Saba Mughal on January 1, 2022

    Grief is a natural and universal response to the loss of a loved one. The grief experience is not a state but a process. Most individuals recover adequately within a year after the loss; however, some individuals experience an extension of the standard grieving process. This condition has been identified as complicated grief or prolonged grief disorder, and it results from failure to transition from acute to integrated grief. Symptoms of acute grief include tearfulness, sadness, and insomnia and...

  • Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Grief during Recovery
    by Lauren Bethune Scroggs on December 30, 2021

    BACKGROUND: Individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) often experience loss and grief when recovering from addiction. With fatal overdoses and suicide rates increasing for individuals with SUDs and other mental health concerns, individuals in recovery are often faced with mourning the loss of a loved one while navigating their life in recovery. The loss of a loved one can be compounded by the effect of losing their relationship with their drug of choice. These co-occurring losses may prove...

  • The Grief and Bereavement Experiences of Informal Caregivers: A Scoping Review of the North American Literature
    by Neerjah Skantharajah on December 3, 2021

    Background Informal caregivers are a significant part of the hospice and palliative care landscape as members of the interdisciplinary care team. Despite this, little is known about the impact this responsibility has on informal caregivers' experiences of grief and bereavement. To address this, a scoping review of the literature was conducted to explore the current state of knowledge toward grief and bereavement of informal caregivers of adult/geriatric patients in the hospice and...

  • Surviving the suicide of a loved one: impact and postvention.
    by Martina Pontiggia on November 16, 2021

    CONCLUSION: A public health approach to postvention can allow to tailor interventions to the needs of survivors, and to align postvention with suicide prevention programs.