Psychiatric Annals

CME Article 

Sleep Disturbance in Bereavement

Timothy H. Monk, PhD, DSc; Anne Germain, PhD; Charles F. Reynolds III, MD

Abstract

Bereavement is a ubiquitous part of the human condition. Almost no person makes it through his or her life without having to cope with the loss of a loved one several different times. The loss of a parent, child, or grandparent can be very distressing. For many, the most devastating loss is that of their spouse or partner, which usually occurs during later life. More than 800,000 older Americans are widowed every year. Apart from the severe emotional strain of the loss of a loved one, there are profound changes in lifestyle and status, often accompanied by reductions in financial security, perceived personal safety, and freedom of action. Thus, late-life spousal bereavement (LLSB) comprises one of the major impacts of bereavement on society.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Timothy H. Monk, PhD, DSc, is Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anne Germain, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Charles F. Reynolds III, MD, is the Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Address correspondence to Timothy H. Monk, DSc, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Room E1123, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh PA 15213; fax 412-246-5300; or e-mail monkth@upmc.edu.

Dr. Monk, Dr. Germain, and Dr. Reynolds have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Recognize the importance of sleep disruption in bereavement.
  2. Explain the possible role of insomnia treatment for bereaved individuals.
  3. Discuss the etiology of sleep disorders in bereavement.

Abstract

Bereavement is a ubiquitous part of the human condition. Almost no person makes it through his or her life without having to cope with the loss of a loved one several different times. The loss of a parent, child, or grandparent can be very distressing. For many, the most devastating loss is that of their spouse or partner, which usually occurs during later life. More than 800,000 older Americans are widowed every year. Apart from the severe emotional strain of the loss of a loved one, there are profound changes in lifestyle and status, often accompanied by reductions in financial security, perceived personal safety, and freedom of action. Thus, late-life spousal bereavement (LLSB) comprises one of the major impacts of bereavement on society.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Timothy H. Monk, PhD, DSc, is Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anne Germain, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Charles F. Reynolds III, MD, is the Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Address correspondence to Timothy H. Monk, DSc, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Room E1123, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh PA 15213; fax 412-246-5300; or e-mail monkth@upmc.edu.

Dr. Monk, Dr. Germain, and Dr. Reynolds have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Recognize the importance of sleep disruption in bereavement.
  2. Explain the possible role of insomnia treatment for bereaved individuals.
  3. Discuss the etiology of sleep disorders in bereavement.

Bereavement is a ubiquitous part of the human condition. Almost no person makes it through his or her life without having to cope with the loss of a loved one several different times. The loss of a parent, child, or grandparent can be very distressing. For many, the most devastating loss is that of their spouse or partner, which usually occurs during later life. More than 800,000 older Americans are widowed every year. Apart from the severe emotional strain of the loss of a loved one, there are profound changes in lifestyle and status, often accompanied by reductions in financial security, perceived personal safety, and freedom of action. Thus, late-life spousal bereavement (LLSB) comprises one of the major impacts of bereavement on society.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Timothy H. Monk, PhD, DSc, is Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anne Germain, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Charles F. Reynolds III, MD, is the Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Address correspondence to Timothy H. Monk, DSc, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Room E1123, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh PA 15213; fax 412-246-5300; or e-mail monkth@upmc.edu.

Dr. Monk, Dr. Germain, and Dr. Reynolds have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Recognize the importance of sleep disruption in bereavement.
  2. Explain the possible role of insomnia treatment for bereaved individuals.
  3. Discuss the etiology of sleep disorders in bereavement.

10.3928/00485713-20081001-06

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