Losing A Parent Can Have A Deep Impact On Your Brain And Mental Health

by Conscious Reminder

Grief has no differentiation because it is an emotion that cannot be quantified in any way.

We all know that losing a loved one can cause one an immense amount of grief, especially if over loses a parent. If one has to go deeper, the amount and intensity of grief experienced would depend on a few things, like the following:

1. Equation shared with the parent
2. Psychological bent of mind
3. Previous experience with grief
4. Cause of death

To study this on a deeper level, research was conducted in the 1970s, where about 11,000 people were studied- some orphans, some from disturbed homes and some from happy families. It was observed that the orphans grew up with a sense of incompleteness, a strong belief that life will never be the way they want it to be which is why they tend to be smokers.

It was also noted that orphans are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses. Another study was conducted from the point of view of the children, where it was noticed that a parent’s death has effects lasting as long as 70 years, and the child growing up without any viable communication skills or a stable belief system within themselves. It is worth noting that the death of a particular parent affects girls and boys differently. Boys tend to take their father’s death hard and for girls it is the mother.

There has been a fair amount of brain imaging involved in this research and even though it is a highly technical approach to a very emotional thing, it provides valuable insight. It shows that grief affects the posterior cortex, frontal cortex and the cerebellum. This provides sufficient explanation for the physical discomfort and issues when faced by grief, which include nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness and so on.

When discussing grief, it would be remiss to not mention the 5 stage breakdown.

The first stage is denial, where the person in the face of grief due to some disaster refuses to accept that the said event has taken place at all. The second stage is anger, where they hold other people responsible for whatever has happened and tend to act violent. The following stage is bargaining– they try to make deals with whoever is watching upon us to reverse situation for something in return. The fourth stage is depression, where the person is question goes through extreme sadness and the final stage is acceptance, where they accept whatever has happened as it is and try to make peace with it.

There are a few ways to deal with grief and sadness and they will be listed below.

1. Interventions: Sometimes people refuse to accept help or even recognise their situation. In those cases, people close to the sufferer can arrange an intervention. It reminds the person in question that they are loved and cared for.

2. Counselling: Sometimes one needs professional help and there is nothing with that. You deserve to be happy.

3. Support groups: Sharing your problems with people going through the same issues helps more than one can possibly imagine. Talking about your grief helps in making peace with it.

4. Medication: People often attach a sort of taboo to medication, but there is nothing wrong with it.

5. Socialization: Being around people helps serotonin levels greatly. The love of friends and family has an uplifting effect on everyone.

6. Self care: One has to take care of their own self at one point or the other. At the end of the day, you are the only person who understands you the best.

7. Spiritual healing: Spirituality is always a source of comfort for a large amount of people.


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