Complicated Grief Quiz

Are You Suffering From Complex Grief?

Grief is the normal response to loss.  When someone close to us dies or when there is another type of loss we all experience the stages of grief.  The 5 stages of grief were developed by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book, "On Death and Dying."

Since her original work identifying and detailing the stages of death and grieving others have continued to build on her 5 stage model.  Her understudy, Dr. David Kessler, has identified  the 6th stage of grief.  The 6 stages of grief are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance
  6. Meaning

We will all experience the 6 stages of grief when there is a death or other type of loss.  There are some situations, however, where the griever experiences difficulty processing through the loss resulting in what is commonly known as complex or complicated grief.  In complex grief all the symptoms of normal grief exist, however, they continue to persist and increase in intensity, duration, and severity.

Keep in mind that the goal of grieving is never to forget and just "move on" which is what our society often tell us to do.  The grieving process is ultimately to move the griever into a place of remembering, finding deeper meaning and purpose, and to live life in way that honors the one who was lost.

If you have lost someone close to you or experienced another type of loss and have found the grieving process to be overwhelming you may be experiencing complex grief.

Below is a list of common grief symptoms.  The symptoms of complex grief are the same as normal grief.  The difference is if it has been at least 12 months since the loss and the symptoms are the same or have increased in intensity and severity you may be experiencing complex grief.  Please answer how often you experienced the following common symptoms of grief and/or complex grief:


I think about the person so much it is hard for me to function in my everyday life.  

Memories of the deceased person upset me.

I have problems accepting the death.

I feel numb or detached. 

I have bitterness related to the loss.

I feel as though life has no meaning or purpose.

Since the loss it has been difficult for me to trust others. 

It has been difficult for me to remember positive experiences with the person who died.

I go out of my way to avoid reminders of the person who died.

I spend a great deal of time seeking reminders of the person who died.

I feel intense anger related to the loss. 

I feel intense sorrow and pain related to the loss. 

I feel intense guilt or self-blame related to the loss.

I feel lonely ever since the loss. 

Since the loss I feel as though I have lost my ability to care about other people or to accept other people's care for me. 

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