Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder Treatment in Massachusetts

Any person who has dealt with the loss of a loved one understands the difficulty of the grieving process. Usually, we can expect these emotions to dissipate slowly over time as we begin to heal from our loss and move forward with our lives. This experience typically involves a series of phases that can occur across any length of time, and include:

  • Accepting the reality of the loss
  • Feeling the pain from the loss
  • Adjusting to life without that loved one’s presence in it
  • Developing new relationships

Unfortunately, there are many individuals who are unable to progress through their bereavement, which is then classified as a condition called persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD), or complicated grief. Colony Care provides unique treatment options tailored specifically to those with persistent complex bereavement disorder. To learn more about Colony Care’s experience and approach to treating this disorder, please call (781) 431-1177 to schedule an appointment.

Symptoms of Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

Soon after the loss of a loved one, symptoms of PCBD will be identical to those of regular grief. It is only with the passing of time that it becomes clear as to whether the person is able to accept this loss in their life, or if they are suffering from a state of mourning that lingers or worsens.

Individuals who experience persistent complex bereavement disorder often report several of the following symptoms:

  • Intense focus on the loved one’s death
  • Persistent longing for the deceased
  • Difficulty in trusting others
  • Problems in performing essential daily functions
  • Loss of interest or meaning in one’s own life
  • Detachment
  • Difficulty in reflecting on positive memories with the deceased
  • Feelings of deep sadness, bitterness, or self-blame
  • Isolating oneself from social activities
  • Guilt over the loved one’s death and how you could have prevented it
  • Hallucinations of the deceased
  • Thoughts of suicide

Once again, it is important to remember that many of these symptoms are a completely natural part of the grieving process. The key difference is that individuals should be progressing through this journey over time until these symptoms eventually improve. Generally, if you have experienced intense bereavement for over a year, it is best to consult a specialist on the topic. Those with persistent complex bereavement disorder do not experience such improvement, and thus require the assistance of a specialist like Colony Care for additional support.

Factors That Influence Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

There is no definitive cause of PCBD, though there are several situations and factors that can increase a person’s chances of suffering from the condition. These include:

  • High stress levels
  • Past trauma or traumatic grief
  • Having a poor support system
  • Being a female
  • Having been a caregiver to the deceased in their final days

Individuals who suffer from persistent complex bereavement disorder often have impaired social skills, a dependency on tobacco, alcohol, or illicit substances, and poor academic or professional performance. Together, these characteristics often result in a lowered quality of life, and may eventually lead to significant health concerns if left untreated.

Seeking Treatment for PCBD

In order to avoid lifelong impacts caused by persistent complex bereavement disorder, it is critical for individuals to seek professional treatment. While there is not a specific cure for this disorder, there are many treatment methods that have proven to be highly effective for those that suffer from an extreme loss in their life.

Psychotherapy for Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

Psychotherapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a technique that can be utilized for individuals that suffer from a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and even grief. This approach is tailored to each individual patient, and is based on exploring their particular symptoms to find positive ways of managing and coping with them.

Many patients who experience PCBD will struggle to deal with their symptoms in a healthy way, which is why it is quite common for those with this disorder to become dependent on alcohol or other substances to dull their pain and avoid their feelings completely. Psychotherapy is designed to help the patient address their emotions in a low-impact environment, and to find healthy coping strategies that work well for them.

Medications to Manage PCBD

There are many types of medications that Colony Care may prescribe based on the patient’s symptoms of persistent complex bereavement disorder. Individuals who experience debilitating sadness will often be advised to take antidepressants, specifically serotonin reuptake inhibitors, to improve their condition.

Contact Colony Care for a Consultation

No two patients are alike, which is why Colony Care takes an individualized approach to each patient that they treat for persistent complex bereavement disorder. If you have been struggling with your bereavement process for over a year, are concerned about the intensity of your grieving process, or would like to consider other treatment options for PCBD, please request an appointment today to speak with one of our mental health clinicians in Massachusetts. You can also speak with one of our team members by calling our mental health clinic at (781) 431-1177. The best way to connect with a clinician is to complete our appointment request form to schedule an appointment.


Request Initial Appointment