5 Common Causes Of Loss And Grief
Loss is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “the fact or process of losing something or someone.” Loss is a universal experience and an unavoidable part of being human. When the loss of an individual experiences, it is emoted through grief, which is defined as deep sorrow. The more significant the loss, the more intensely grief is experienced. Children who experience a major loss may grieve differently than adults. While there are a plethora of possible causes of loss and grief, the five most common causes include the following:
- Loss of a parent or sibling: the death of a loved one, regardless of whether it was expected or not, is a major loss that can be the impetus for a teen’s grief.
- Divorce: divorce can cause a child to experience the same stages of grief as the adults going through the divorce. With a divorce, the family dynamic is greatly affected while it shifts from normal functioning through the stages of divorce. This, in turn, leads an adolescent to be faced with grieving the loss of what was once his or her unified family.
- Moving: moving to a new home is a big change that is commonly accompanied by loss for young people.
- Loss of a personal dream: when certain factors occur that may illuminate and contribute to the impossibility of achieving one’s dreams, it can be crushing for a teen.
- Illness/ loss of health: a challenging diagnosis that may affect a young person’s physiological abilities can cause him or her to experience grief.
The American Counseling Association explains that “grief is an inevitable, never-ending process that results from a permanent or temporary disruption in a routine, a separation, or a change in a relationship that may be beyond the person’s control.” Grief has a physiological effect on teens. It 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. Young 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.
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