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Stages of grief when coping with imminent death

What are the emotional and psychological responses one experiences when faced with a life threatening illness, imminent death or the loss of a loved one?

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Elizabeth Kubler Ross (1969) outlined five stages an individual undergoes when coping with their own imminent death and for the imminent or actual death of a loved one. These stages are still used today and are the basis of all new theories of grieving. The stages are sumarized as follows:

1. Denial and Isolation
When faced with death or loss, a person may respond with avoidance or denial of the truth. This period of shock acts as a buffer against the overwhelming reality of the situation by suppressing or excluding it from consciousness. This psychological detatchment from the truth actually aides the mind to eventually recognize the truth and gradually give way to less radical defenses.

2. The second stage is Anger
Anger often manifests itself as displaced hostility. Frequently it is the messenger of the news who bears the brunt of this hostility. For example a Doctor has just informed a man that his wife died on the operating table and he shouts "why didn't you do something to ...

Solution Summary

This solution reviews the emotional and psychological responses one experiences when faced with a life threatening illness, imminent death or the loss of a loved one.

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