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Ask the Doc: How do I cope with grief?

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There is no one way to deal with grief.
There is no one way to deal with grief.

Dr Laura Ryan, who is NHS 24’s medical director and has 20 years' experience as a doctor, answers readers’ questions in our column.

Q. I recently lost my wife and I’m really struggling to cope with my emotions. What should I do?

A. The death of someone close is a major event in anybody’s life and there are no quick ways of adjusting. As well as the practical issues, the death of someone close brings a whole range of feelings and emotions. As each person’s grief is different, different things will work for different people, but here are some general tips to help you to cope:

  • Take your time. You may have a variety of emotions running through your head, sadness, anger, guilt or even relief. All are normal and help you to come to terms with what has happened.
  • Do it your way. There’s no right way to grieve, do what feels right to you.
  • Take care of yourself. Try to eat well and avoid alcohol.
  • Find someone you trust to talk to. For example, a friend, your doctor, or a religious leader.

If you feel like you need some additional support after the death of a loved one, you can also contact Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland.

NHS inform has information on how to cope with bereavement. Search ‘bereavement.’

Read more: Ask the Doc: Exercise to beat depression

Q. Why do I have a sore throat?

A. The cause isn’t always obvious.

A sore throat is often a symptom of colds or flu. Other causes include: laryngitis, tonsillitis, strep throat or glandular fever. It may also be caused by irritation, such as smoke, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (where acid leaks up from the stomach) and allergies.

Less often, a sore throat can be a sign of: quinsy or epiglottitis (an inflammation of the flap of tissue at the back of the throat) – the pain may be severe and you may have difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing. These conditions are more serious and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

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