Traumatic Bereavement

Sudden death is an unexpected death.

A sudden and violent loss deeply upsets the fundamental certainties of the person involved, often affecting their sense of security and confidence in the future. The world can seem unpredictable and menacing, life without the loved one may seem difficult to deal with and one can feel alone in own grief.

By their very definition, sudden deaths occur more frequently among children, young people and middle-aged healthy adults. This means that the lives of people who are involved is distorted by the death of someone very dear to them, as a friend, a parent, a son or a brother.

For this reason it is imperative receive emotional support by the family, friends, professionals but also by peers, or people who themselves are experiencing a traumatic grief and with whom one can feel understood and accepted , as occurs for example in self-help groups.

The term “traumatic grief” unites two concepts, that of mourning and that of traumatic death, and describes the pain for the loss of a loved one causes through a sudden, unexpected and violent death, such as those due to a road accident or an accident at work, suicide, murder and natural disaster. This type of mourning differs from others by the external cause of death and the experiences typical of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that often accompany the mourning pain. For example the survivor* could relive the event of having recurrent and intrusive images and feel an intense state of anxiety.

Each type of death can create suffering and lead to various reactions to bereavement. Mourning is an absolutely natural and normal response to a painful event. However, sometimes it can be prolonged in time, become so complicated and continue to interfere with the welfare and the proper functioning of the person.


*Survivor – the person who is “left behind, in the world” after losing a loved one due to a traumatic death (eg, suicide).