a loved one can trigger mental health issues in adults with no history of
psychiatric conditions, a new study reveals.
Although experts say it's uncommon to develop mental illness later in life,
researchers found a link between sudden grief and the onset of disorders like
stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
"Clinically, our results highlight the importance of considering a
possible role for loss of close personal relationships through death in
assessment of psychiatric disorders. When someone loses a close personal
relationship, even late in life, there is a profound effect on sense of self
and self-reflection," lead author Katherine Keyes, an assistant professor
of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said
in a university news release.
Loss of a loved one
"Even in adults with no history of psychiatric disorders, it is also a
vulnerable risk period for the onset of a potentially disabling psychiatric
disorder," Keyes added.
The study, published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry,
involved more than 27 000 people. Of these participants, 20% to 30% said the
sudden loss of a loved one was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to
them. Even among those who reported facing 11 or more traumatic events, 22%
said the unexpected loss of a loved one was the most traumatic experience.
The greatest increase in risk across all age groups was for PTSD. The
researchers found as much as a 30-fold increase in the chances for this
Mental health issues
The sudden loss of a loved one also roughly doubled the risk for mania in
people aged 30 and older. This was true even after the researchers took other
factors into account such as medical history, other traumatic experiences,
gender, race, income, education level and marital status.
SA mental health facts
This risk increased with age. The study revealed a fivefold increase in the
risk for mania among those aged 50 and younger or 70 or older.
The sudden loss of a loved one is also linked to increased risk for other
mental health issues such as:-Major
disorders, including panic disorder
Keyes did add, "it is also notable that the majority of individuals in
the present study did not develop mental health issues in the wake of an
unexpected death of a loved one."
phases of grief
can do much to help teens affected by loss of sibling