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With Grief Comes Anxiety

We think of grief as something that happens after someone we love dies. But grieving begins long before that.
When your loved one is first sick; when he or she is struggling through doctors’ appointments, therapies and trips to the hospital; when you realize curative care is no longer effective; when your loved one becomes a hospice patient—through all of that you are feeling “anticipatory grief” It is as debilitating as the grief that follows death.
Is it any wonder that those coping with grief are also coping with anxiety?

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a state of distress or uneasiness about future uncertainties. An anxious person may be tense, restless and/or jittery, unable to sleep, unable to concentrate, short of breath or numb. These physical signs may overshadow the psychological symptoms of fear, worry or apprehension.

Look for:

  • Difficulty solving problems
  • Excitability
  • Muscle tension
  • Trembling
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling tightness in your stomach
  • Feeling like are losing control

How to Prevent Anxiety

  • Get the facts
  • Talk with someone who has been through a similar situation
  • Increase pleasant, distracting activities
  • Increase companionship and time spent with friends and family
  • Learn a relaxation technique

Things to Consider

  • An anxious person is often a demanding person
  • Anxiety may lead to sleep deprivation
  • If you previously coped with anxiety by becoming busy and are no longer able to be so active, you may need to seek other coping strategies

What to Do

  • Try to determine exactly what thoughts make you feel anxious
  • Talk to someone about your worries and fears
  • Know that it is OK to feel sad and afraid
  • Seek help through counseling, support groups, minister, priest or rabbi
  • Recall how you have coped with similar feelings in the past
  • Try relaxation techniques
  • Try visualization techniques
  • Keep a log of your moods and thoughts throughout the day
  • Take a medication prescribed by your doctor for anxiety

For more information, contact VITAS Healthcare at 866.759.6695 or visit VITAS.com.

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