cremation services in Sterling Heights, MI

How Grief Can Affect Your Health

Cremation services in Mount Sterling Heights, MI include grief support and grief resources. Grief can affect your health in many ways. Not only is physical health affected, but so is mental and emotional health.

Grief is an intense thing. It’s not just emotional. It’s not just mental. And it’s not just physical. In fact, it’s a combination of all three, so every part of the body is affected. This is normal, but understanding how grief takes its toll us take better care of ourselves during the grieving process so that its impact is not so great.

Grief causes stress, just as death causes stress. This intense amount of stress, sudden perhaps, compacted into a short period of time, and at full velocity all at once, will affect the mind, the heart, and the body. When the physical body is under stress, a hormone known as cortisol is produced. Cortisol increases glucose in the bloodstream, enabling the brain to have access to it for cognition and increasing the availability of substances that can repair tissues.

Too much cortisol for too long, such as may occur during the grieving process, can disrupt almost all of the body’s normal processes. This can create an increased risk of physical health problems, which may include anxiety, memory and concentration impairment, sleep disorders, digestive problems, depression, headaches, weight gain, and heart disease.

Once the body’s processes are disrupted, each area that’s disrupted brings its own problems. For example, sleep is commonly altered during stressful times. Most often, the problem is not getting too much sleep, but instead getting too little sleep. In a normal sleep cycle, there’s light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. It is during the deep sleep cycles that harmful toxins are swept out of the brain. When sleep is disrupted, the deep sleep cycle often disappears, which means toxins accumulate in the brain. With enough stress over time and enough sleep disruption, these toxins that have accumulated in the brain can lead to the development of dementia.

Anxiety and depression are emotional and mental side effects of stress. They can also be tied to a lack of sleep. Both anxiety and depression tend to feed on themselves. The actual brain chemistry and in regions of the brain that are involved in this perpetual cycle that accompanies anxiety and depression are still largely unknown, but neuroscience researchers are discovering that anxiety and depression are much more complicated in terms of brain chemistry and brain regions than the previous assumption that serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the brain, was primarily responsible for anxiety and depression.

Stress from grieving can also impair cognition. There is a fog that is associated with the initial stages of grief. That’s normal and it helps absorb the blow of a loved one’s death. However, prolonged grieving and its associated stress can create memory problems and cognition problems. These are temporary, but they can be very stressful in themselves, which adds to the stress that’s already present because of grief.

While confusion is seldom part of this kind of cognitive impairment, losing things, forgetting things, and not being able to think clearly, in an analytical and logical way, are very common with the cognition problems caused by stress.

For more information grief resources as part of cremation services in Mount Sterling Heights, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you. You can visit our funeral home at 46530 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb, MI 48044, or you can call us today at (586) 412-8999.