5 Side Effects of Grief

Person standing back and overlooking

When people think of grieving, they often focus on the most apparent effects of grief, such as sadness, anger, and loneliness.

However, grief also has some less-known secondary physical and mental effects.

To provide yourself with support for grief, it is crucial to learn about the lesser-known side effects of grief.

Depression and grief share a lot of similarities.

This makes it difficult for most people to identify this side effect of grief.

This is why depression is one of the interesting side effects of grief.

Heartache is one of the more underrated side effects of grief.

Although it might appear to be trivial, heartaches can be severe.

It is essential to seek medical care if you feel chest pain after suffering from grief.

You might notice your memory getting foggy after suffering the loss.

There might be instances where you have struggled to remember what you were doing.

The cause of this behavior might be memory loss from grieving.

Discover five effects of grief below.

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Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

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The hardest step is starting counseling.

Inability to Concentrate

The human mind can only process a limited amount of information at a time.

Grief is a feeling that might preoccupy your mind.

Every action you perform might have a way of reminding you of your lost loved one.

It is also possible you are not even conscious of what happens in your mind, only that you drift in and out of consciousness.

In addition to being damaging to your mind, this behavior might interfere with your work or your everyday living.

The inability to concentrate is one of the possible effects of grief.

It would help to start by decluttering your physical environment and mental space.

Try to unburden your mind before you begin a task.

This will likely take practice on your part to slowly build up your focus levels.

The use of breaks and alarms might be helpful.

Also, consider if you are eating and sleeping well.

There are many tips to increase your productivity.

You will likely regain your focus levels, so try not to beat yourself up over it.


One of the side effects of grief is heartache.

The typical idea of heartache or heartbreak would involve romance.

Grief can also cause overwhelming heartache.

Essentially heartache comes from being separate from someone you have grown attached to.

For many years, poets and writers have spoken about the end of love.

For a while, the occurrence called heartbreak has been seen as a metaphor.

However, we now know that heartache goes further than just a literary word.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, is the official diagnosis in some cases of heartache.

Its symptoms are similar to that of a heart attack.

Only it is not a heart attack, and extreme emotions cause it.

It is advisable to seek medical help if you feel intense chest pain, especially when grieving.

It is more common among women than in men.

Fortunately, broken heart syndrome is a reversible heart condition for most people.


One of the most common side effects of grief is depression.

Depression typically creeps in slowly.

You might not notice that you are depressed.

The signs of depression are more subtle, like not wanting to go out of bed in the morning.

You might also notice that the things that gave you pleasure no longer give that sense of fulfillment.

Essentially, if you have observed more somber change after the loss of a loved one perhaps you are depressed.

Most people believe that depression is actually grieving.

Although grief and depression share similarities, such as deep sadness and a somber mood, they are different.

For one, grief tends to reduce over time.

However, depression remains even with the passing of time.

Grief also is a normal process of mourning most people partake in.

Depression is a mental condition that requires treatment.

It is vital to distinguish between depression and grief.

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Susan Taylor, LPCC

Susan Taylor, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Seth Boughton, SWC

Seth Boughton, SWC

(720) 449-4121
Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Clarissa Mendez, LSW

Clarissa Mendez, LSW

(720) 449-4121
Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Sierra Brown, SWC

Sierra Brown, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

(719) 696-3439
Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

(719) 452-4374


Grief can take its toll on the human body.

During grieving, the body releases many stress hormones that could wear out the body.

Stress can be one of the side effects of grief.

Grief can bear a heavy toll on the human body.

When your body is strained, it usually releases a bunch of stress hormones to the body.

In short doses of stress, your body is more likely to cope.

However, prolonged stress might wear you out.

Some of the symptoms include feeling constant fatigue.

This might mean you spend a lot of time taking naps and sleeping.

You might also notice that you are thinking about sleeping.

In extreme cases, you could develop chronic stress.

Chronic stress can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

An excellent place to start would be to ensure that you are well-nourished and exercise regularly.

You should also avoid harmful coping mechanisms in favor of healthy ones.

Try to also recognize when you need to take breaks.

Memory Loss 

Another side effect of grief is memory loss.

This could range from being more forgetful about your day-to-day activities.

For instance, you might be more forgetful with things around the house, like your car keys.

Memory loss can also affect even long-term memory.

You might even struggle with forgetting your loved one.

At this point, it is important to go easy on yourself.

Self-blame and guilt will likely make things worse for you.

Instead, consider using other tools to help you remember what you want.

For instance, you can start writing a journal and note down details you want to remember.

Suffering from memory loss related to grief is usually related to experiencing some trauma.

Consider addressing the grief with support from others.

Slowly, you might become able to recover from the trauma.


Grieving usually has some side effects you might have missed out on.

This might cause you some discomfort and pain.

Learning about the side effects of grief, such as the inability to concentrate, depression, heartache, stress, and memory loss, will help deal with grief.


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July 17th, 2024

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