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Unresolved Grief Can Be Hidden Health Issue

By Nyasia Draper | May 27, 2013 11:59 AM EDT

grief
Researchers say unresolved grief can cause health complications. (Photo : Flickr/ greg.khng)

Unresolved grief may be responsible for a decline in health according to USA Today.

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A new research project is underway to examine the correlation between grief and health complications. Researchers are hoping to prevent emotional turmoil from influencing physical health.

"Loss creates injury. It is a new risk factor for poor health in the public sphere," Toni Miles, a researcher and director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia, told USA Today"When you study care giving, you know grief kills people. Obesity is also a big problem among caregivers," 

Miles claims grief is "behind much of the nation's obesity, depression, diabetes, and smoking." 

According to the American Cancer Society, it's important for a grieving individual to gain support from family and friends in order to come to terms with their loss. Professional help is also suggested but not mandatory.

In 2004, a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that confirmed a significant amount of support is not granted to those who are grieving. 

Now that researchers know grief plays a role in physical health, they are now focusing on how to improve the grieving process.

"Everyone has a different reaction to grief. We (health care professional) don't have a lot of good information about how to get people to move on," said Donald Rosenstein, a psychiatry professor at the University of North Carolina.

 Rosenstein participated in a research that compared the grieving process between mother's and father's and how their response to a loss effects their surviving families. 

"Time doesn't heal all wounds. People in public health need to be discussing this topic more," Miles said. "There can be health outcomes from loss. It's up to help to find ways to make that happen more often and to push for policy that guarantees it."

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