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How Does Loss Affect A Person?

How Does Loss Affect A Person?

Loss is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “the fact or process of losing something or someone.” Loss is an unavoidable part of being human. When the loss of an individual experiences, it is emoted through grief, which is defined as deep sorrow. Experiencing grief after a loss is healthy and natural. The more significant the loss, the more intensely grief is experienced. Grief affects the human limbic system by disrupting certain brain chemicals (e.g., serotonin and dopamine). Dopamine is the neurotransmitter associated with one’s reward center and feelings of pleasure. Serotonin is known as one of the chemicals responsible for maintaining one’s mood balance. People who have experienced loss often present with a range of feelings. Further, it is not uncommon for the effects of loss and feelings surrounding the loss to shift and change as time passes.


Everyone is unique and will be influenced by loss differently. There are a variety of reactions to a loss that an individual may exhibit. Loss can affect a person’s feelings, thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors. Common grief reactions include the following examples:

  • Feelings: loss can cause a person to feel sadness, shock, numbness, denial, anxiety, anger, despair, guilt, loneliness, helplessness, relief, depression, yearning, etc.
  • Thoughts: loss can cause a person to be in disbelief, have difficulty concentrating, experience hallucinations, mental confusion, etc.
  • Physical sensations: loss can cause a person to develop an array of physical sensations such as tightness or heaviness in the chest or throat, nausea or an upset stomach, dizziness, headaches, physical numbness, muscle weakness or tension, fatigue, etc.
  • Behaviors: loss can cause a person to become irritable, restless, aggressive, languid, disinterested in previously enjoyed pastimes, engage in social isolation, etc.

The way an individual processes, integrates, learns from, and is affected by loss will be distinct. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), there is mention of a specific disorder, known as persistent complex bereavement disorder, which is described as an individual who experiences intense symptoms of debilitating grief that does not dissipate in the months following the loss and lasts beyond twelve months. 

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life in, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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