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Experiencing Grief as a Teenager

teenage girl sitting alone in darkened room staring despondently out the window experiencing grief as a teenager

Adolescents experiencing grief can show significant impairment in their everyday lives. While grieving is a natural process, if the effects of grief continue to linger and interfere with important activities, it might be time to help your teenager seek treatment. Call Imagina Nampa today at 888.503.4604 to learn more about our grief and loss therapy options for adolescents.

Adolescent Bereavement Following the Death of a Loved One

The most common cause of grief among teenagers is the loss of somebody close to them. Adolescent bereavement following the death of a loved one can be devastating, leading teenagers to have sudden mood swings, become unable to focus on their academics, or fall into a deep depression.

Adolescents experiencing grief can show signs like:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Anger
  • Restlessness

While it’s normal for teenagers experiencing grief to have a wide range of emotional and behavioral responses, it becomes a concern when these issues don’t resolve in a reasonable amount of time.

5 Stages of Grief for Teenagers

The stages of grief for teenagers typically follow a pattern. While many people think of the stages of grief as linear, they can actually occur in any order, and people may progress or regress several times before reaching the final stage.

1. Denial

The first stage of grief is denial. After a significant loss, it can be difficult for people to deal with the overwhelming emotions that overcome them. Rather than experience these intense emotions, many teenagers will instead deny that the loss ever happened and shut themselves off from the experience of grief altogether.
The denial phase is a form of self-protection. It delays the experience of difficult emotions until a person is prepared to deal with them.

2. Anger

Denial cannot last forever; eventually, people will have to face the true nature of their loss. But they are still often unprepared to feel the deep sadness or fear that the loss of a loved one can cause. Instead, they turn to anger—often referred to as a “secondary emotion”—which can cover their true emotions.
During this stage of the process, teenagers may lash out at others or feel bitter resentment. They may blame others for the loss or say hurtful things to their loved ones.

3. Bargaining

The third stage of grief is known as bargaining. It’s common for people in this phase to say or think things like, “If only I did X…” or to pray to a higher power for a release from their pent-up emotions or stress.

4. Depression

Following bargaining, many people experience a deep depression. During this stage, people may cry excessively, oversleep, or feel weighed down and confused.
Many teenagers who struggle with experiencing grief can become stuck in this stage, but treatment with a trained mental health professional can help them break through this barrier.

5. Acceptance

The final stage of grief is acceptance. Reaching the acceptance stage doesn’t mean that the grief is resolved but indicates that a person has learned to continue living their life despite their grief. They have processed their grief, and while they still experience it, it no longer causes them to suffer.

Experiencing Grief? Get Help at Imagine Nampa

If your adolescent is struggling with grief, the mental health experts at Imagine Tampa can help. Our intensive outpatient treatment options can offer targeted therapies and treatments to help them achieve acceptance and live stronger and healthier lives in recovery.

Reach out to Imagine Nampa today by calling our team at 888.503.4604 or contacting us online. We know how difficult the grieving process can be for families, and we are dedicated to helping you heal and start anew.