Healing Emotions After Loss

Grieving the death of a loved one is undoubtedly one of the hardest things we may ever do as humans.  Strong feelings of sadness and loneliness commonly occur following the death of a loved one.  Other painful feelings, like fear, anxiety, guilt, resentment, anger, and shame are also common.  Experiencing any or all of these emotions during acute grief can be very normal.

However, some people find that their grief does not change with time. These people are bothered by something that happened around the death or about how things have been after the death.  These people are “stuck” in the grieving process and suffering from the condition called complicated grief. No matter how long it has been, they still feel that all they want is to be with their loved one again. They might try to do things to feel closer to the person who died like spend a lot of time looking at pictures or visiting the grave again and again; sometimes, they get so emotional when they are reminded  of the person who died that they want to avoid these reminders.  People with complicated grief often feel that life is empty and meaningless or that joy is no longer possible for them. They might frequently feel angry or bitter about what happened or feel confused about what to do with their life. They feel distant from family and friends, who seem like they don’t understand and are disappointed in their inability to adjust to the loss.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are hoping to learn how to help people suffering from complicated grief.  There is evidence to support the use of a specialized talk therapy that targets the sadness around grief along with working toward resumption of pleasurable activities and life goals.  Additionally, there is some preliminary data that suggests the use of medication in addition to the specialized talk therapy could increase rates of improvement in grief related symptoms.  The Healing Emotions After Loss (HEAL) study aims to uncover which treatment is optimal in helping survivors restore their lives.

Charles F. Reynolds III, MD and his team are in the initial stages of recruitment for this study.  Individuals between the ages of 18 and 95 who are grieving for at least six months since the loss may contact HEAL Study Staff at (412) 246-6006 for further information.

Are you or a family member stuck in the distress of grief?

If this describes your experience with grief and you are age 18 to 95, you may be eligible to participate in a research study at the University of Pittsburgh examining the effectiveness of a medication, either alone or combined with talk therapy, for the treatment of Complicated Grief.

Healing Emotions After Loss

(412) 246-6006

T E L E P H O N E   S C R E E N

BRIEF GRIEF QUESTIONNAIRE

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A LOT

How much of the time are you having trouble accepting the death of a loved one?

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How much does your grief still interfere with your life?

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How much are you having images or thoughts of your loved one when s/he died or other thoughts about the death that really bother you?

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Are there things you used to do when your loved one was alive that you don’t feel comfortable doing anymore, that you avoid? Like going somewhere you went with him/her, or doing things you used to enjoy together?

Or avoiding looking at pictures or talking about your loved one? How much are you avoiding these things?

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How much are you feeling cut off or distant from other people since your loved one died, even people you used to be close to like family or friend?

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If your score is 5 or higher, you may be eligible to participate in a study at the

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

ARE YOU GRIEVING THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE?

Have you lost a loved one to illness, accident, or suicide?
Does the pain feel almost as strong today as it did in the beginning?
Do you feel a strong yearning for the person who died?
Does your grief interfere with your life and functioning?

If you answered YES to any of these questions and it has been more than six months since the loss, you may be eligible for a research study at the University of Pittsburgh examining the effectiveness of a medication, either alone or combined with talk therapy, for the treatment of Complicated Grief.

(412) 246-6006
All inquiries are confidential.
There is no cost to you to participate in the study.

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