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Grief and clinical depression, hypnosis

Created date

October 22nd, 2014

Q. Although it’s been over a year since her sister died, my wife still seems very sad. She doesn’t go out of the house very much, and says she feels tired. Sometimes, she cries for no particular reason. Is she still grieving or is this something more serious?

A. Everyone has a different way of dealing with grief, and depending on the person, it can take different lengths of time to resolve. Nevertheless, people typically adjust to the death of a loved one and return to their normal activities within a few weeks or months. Because it seems as if your wife has been showing significant signs of sadness for a long time, she should see her doctor. She might have a health condition (such as thyroid disease or a vitamin B12 deficiency) that could be contributing to her symptoms, or she may be clinically depressed. Along with the symptoms you mention, other signs of depression include anxiety, irritability, appetite disturbances, persistent aches and pains, or difficulty concentrating. There are effective treatments available, which may include medication and/or counseling from a mental health professional. Some people also benefit from a grief support group. 

Q. Is hypnosis actually effective for some people?

A. Hypnosis is a process in which you reach a very relaxed state and are able to focus on a particular problem. People do not lose control of their behavior during hypnosis and they also usually remember what has transpired during the session. Hypnosis has been shown to be effective for reducing stress and anxiety before a medical procedure or surgery. It has also been studied for other uses such as pain control, insomnia, smoking cessation, and phobias. Use caution, however, when choosing a hypnotherapist. Ask about training, experience, licensure, and membership in professional organizations. Also check on the cost and whether or not your insurance may cover it.

Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. This month our expert is

Roberta Feldhausen, P.M.H.C.N.S.-B.C.

Director, Mental Health Services

Riderwood, Silver Spring, Md.

Ms. Feldhausen received one bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from Hood College in Frederick, Md., and another in nursing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. She graduated with a master’s degree in adult and geriatric psychiatric nursing from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, Md. Feldhausen is certified in adult psychiatric mental health nursing. She joined Riderwood in October 2004.