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Graphing Grief

Published: March 13, 2009

Over time, the emotional pain of losing a loved one typically lessens. Some people, however, suffer a debilitating sense of loss called complicated or long-term grief. Researchers recently utilized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans to gain a better understanding of the grieving process.

In the Mayo Clinic study, MRI scans of people with varying levels of grief exhibited activity in the brain’s pain network. Those with complicated grief also showed activity in the pleasure and reward areas of the brain. Researchers theorize that the additional activity may stem from a lingering attachment to the departed and an inability to accept that the person has passed on.

Experts say that participating in support groups often helps dissipate normal grief. But left untreated, the sadness could progress and require medical intervention.

Have you, or do you know someone who has dealt with grief in a healthy way?

What do you suggest to relieve grief before it becomes debilitating?

For more information on the grieving process please visit, MayoClinic.com.

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