Mourning from Covid-19 and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. New therapeutic tools in the treatment of pathological bereavement

This article was originally published here

Psychiatr Danub. 2021 Sep;33(Suppl 9):102-107.


Deaths caused by the virus Covid-19 expose survivors to a high risk of developing a mourning pathology, a state of suffering that presents traumatic aspects similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The characteristics with which the death process took place, during the period following the Coronavirus infection, are configured as important risk factors due to the inability to give the last farewell to the deceased during the period of the lockdown, to see and accompany their loved ones in the last moments of their life. The absence of the deceased body to cry for, the lack of a funeral and any other type of social and personal ritual, are to be considered as obstacles and aggravation factors with respect to the usual elaborative dynamics of mourning. The functional role of some brain areas such as the amygdala in mediating both the responses to stress and the learning of emotions implicitly identifies its importance in the pathophysiology of major trauma such as in pathological bereavement and in PTSD. Behavioral and environmental psychology studies have highlighted the therapeutic value of open contexts, in particular green areas, such as in forest bathing, in the processing of traumas, in which the narration can take place in a way that is independent from traditional therapy, with encouraging results, as demonstrated from the clinical case of Sofia.