Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Complicated grief treatment hasn't been standardized because mental health providers are still learning about the condition. Your doctor or mental health provider will determine what treatment is likely to work best for you based on your particular symptoms and circumstances.

Psychotherapy

Complicated grief is sometimes treated with a type of psychological counseling (psychotherapy) called complicated grief therapy. It's similar to psychotherapy techniques used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may explore such topics as grief reactions, complicated grief symptoms, adjusting to your loss and redefining your life's goals. You may also hold imagined conversations with your loved one and retell the circumstances of the death to help you become less distressed by images and thoughts of your loved one.

Other counseling approaches also may be effective. Therapy can help you explore and process emotions, improve coping skills, and reduce feelings of blame and guilt.

Medications

There's little solid research on the use of psychiatric medications to treat complicated grief. However, antidepressants may be helpful in people who have clinical depression as well as complicated grief.

Sep. 29, 2011