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The Physical Effects of Grief

Grief is something we will all inevitably experience during our lifetime, whether it be from the loss of a loved one, a personal dream, or of a relationship. Usually we think of the psychological effects of grief. It is important to understand the physical effects of grief as well.


1. Immune system

Grief has shown to negatively affect your immune system. One study showed that adults who had suffered from loss showed a weaker immune system compared to adults who hadn’t. A poor immune system may lead to a higher risk of contracting illnesses. Another study showed that adults who had lost a child suffered additionally from problems like colds, flu, headaches, anxiety, infections, depression, and angina.

2. Depression

Depression is likely to occur after a loss. Depression is an extensive period of grief, to the point at which daily activities may be difficult to carry out. Depression is not just the experience of feeling “sad”. It’s important for those suffering loss to reach out to a medical professional if it has been increasingly difficult to cope. Thankfully, depression is treatable as long as it is addressed.

3. Heart Issues

Surprisingly, there actually is a condition called “broken heart syndrome”. This syndrome is a short-term issue where the heart does not pump properly because of sudden increases in stress hormones in the body. This syndrome can occur in otherwise healthy individuals. The syndrome is often treatable, however.

4. Deteriorating sleep

Multiple studies have shown that grief can lead to disturbed sleep patterns. This also occurred regardless of if the individual was depressed or not.


These health risks can be quite scary to read, but they are mostly treatable and preventable. Taking the right type of coping measures ensure that you are as healthy as possible when dealing with grief. It is also important that you reach out to a trusted medical provider if you start to see any issues in your health arise after suffering from a loss.

Works Cited:

Team, P. M. (2018, June 21). 5 Ways Grief May Affect Your Health. Retrieved from Get Healthy Stay Healthy :

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