Effects of Bereavement

Posted: 19/07/2018

If you are coping with the loss of a family member, friend and loved one, it is normal for you to go through what is known as the grieving process and experience bereavement. As part of this, you are likely to experience a number of effects which may impact you in a variety of ways. Fortunately, the feelings at their strongest at least, are likely to be temporary and are all in all, very normal.

In this guide, we are going to exploring some effects of bereavement that can strike during the time that you are coping with grief. As mentioned, although the feelings felt during this time can feel abnormal, they are very common and talking to someone who has been through it can really make all the difference. There are also helplines to call if you feel as though you cannot cope:

The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

Cruse Bereavement Care: 0808 808 1677

Childhood Bereavement Network: 020 7843 6309

Physical Symptoms of Bereavement


There are plenty of physical symptoms when it comes to bereavement which will be discussed below. As a side note, if your loved one died of an illness it is not uncommon for those hit by the death to fear that they might also get sick and die – this can cause anxiety.

Energy & Sleeping


When you are grieving, you may experience a lack of energy and extreme fatigue. You may find that you not only feel exhausted but you are struggling with muscle tightness and/or body pains and general weakness.

You may also have trouble sleeping at all or even sleeping too much. You may even find you have disturbing dreams which may feature the deceased in question. At this time, taking sleeping pills is not going to be the best option as your mind is probably already rather scrambled. In saying this, on occasion, a sleeping pill should cause no harm, but you should not come to rely on them.



When grief strikes, you may find that you lose your appetite and the thought of food is unbearable. If this is the case, you may not even experience hunger. Feeling or being sick, despite not eating much, is also common –  but if this persists, you should see a doctor to help you with coping with this. In most cases, however, your stomach should settle down as you do.

On the flip side, some people react to grief by overeating or comfort eating.


As a result of feeling bereaved, you can experience anxiety. This can cause you to have headaches regularly, become short of breath with chest and throat pressure.

If these symptoms remain mild then you can be sure that all will be fine as time passes. However, if the discomfort which is triggered by anxiety gets too much you should call NHS 111 or seek medical attention immediately.

Emotional Symptoms of Bereavements


Of course, grief and bereavement can cause a person to feel emotions they may not have ever experienced before. The emotions you feel can also be pretty unpredictable- you can feel the highest highs and the lowest lows in a short space of time. This can feel frustrating, but like with all symptoms of bereavement, this should not last long.

You may find you have trouble completing basic tasks due to trouble concentrating, forgetfulness and inability to make decisions.  This can affect people in their professional life temporarily, which is slowly being recognised by corporations. In fact, the parental bereavement leave bill has passed through the first stage.


One common feeling you may experience is numbness. Most people who have felt the effects of loss have reported that they go through an initial stage of shock, disbelief, denial and numbness. This is explained as a defence mechanism of the mind, with the aim to protect you against becoming overwhelmed and panicking. This period of numbness is a blessing in disguise as it will allow you to absorb the loss in your own time.

Sadness & Yearning


After the initial “shock” phase has somewhat concluded, you may feel overwhelming sadness and really notice your physical distance from the person who has died. Crying is a very normal response coupled with feelings of withdrawal.


Guilt in the light of a death can come in many forms. You may feel guilty because you are wondering if there was anything you could have done to prevent the guilt. You may also feel a sense of guilt because there can be a degree relief when it comes to the death of someone who was seriously ill. And, you may feel something called “survivors guilt” which is associated with thinking “Why her and not me?”.

You may also have many regrets, things you did not get to say and so on. But, every person who is left bereaved will feel emotions like this and there is always something left unsaid that you may many to share with the deceased now.


Considering a pre-paid funeral plan?

If you are left worried about the rising price of a funeral in the UK, you could opt for a prepaid funeral plan. This essentially freezes the price of today’s funeral and will relieve you and your family of any financial stress in this department.