JUN 27, 2018 6:03 AM PDT

What Grief Can Do to Your Brain

When we lose someone dear to us, a child or a parent or a partner or really anyone close, the grief can be profound and devastating. The expression is “heartbroken” but in reality, the part of the body most affected is the brain. Grief happens in stages, but that too is how the brain works. There is simply too much to take in all at once. The emotions of grief are stressors that cause the pituitary gland to release the hormone ACTH, which, in turn, raises the level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol impacts the immune system and since grief is an ongoing process, the toll on the brain and the body is immense.

While the initial intense pain of loss fades, what takes its place is a numbness that is driven by the anterior cingulate cortex, which regulates emotion and heart rate. From there, some who are in grief experience depression, which can have multiple effects on health and wellness. Moving on from the raw pain of new loss varies from person to person, but it does happen. Exercise, cognitive behavior therapy and talking with others about the person who has died can activate the reward center in the brain and that helps with healing.

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
NOV 06, 2020
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) i ...
NOV 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
NOV 27, 2020
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
A common entity that connects everything from majestically looking galaxies and nebula to the enormously diversified bio ...
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
DEC 10, 2020
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
As climate change continues to alter the Arctic landscape, polar bear research becomes more urgent. Observing animals in ...
FEB 10, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
FEB 10, 2021
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
Recurrent slope lineae (RSL) are dark flows that extend downhill on Mars to form sandy patterns on its surface. Research ...
FEB 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
FEB 20, 2021
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
NASA scientists have confirmed that their car-sized Perseverance Mars rover is 'healthy' following its arrival o ...
JUL 16, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Melting Mountain Glaciers in Asia Release Greenhouse Gas
JUL 16, 2021
Melting Mountain Glaciers in Asia Release Greenhouse Gas
High mountain glaciers that are melting in the Tibetan plateau in Asia contain greenhouse gases and should be counted in ...
Loading Comments...