The terror attack on 22 July 2011 has been described as a national tragedy, where people came together to share their grief all over Norway. When we talk about grief among those who were affected by the terror attack, this includes survivors, their families, the bereaved family members and friends, groups, organisations, local communities and the Norwegian society as a whole. Many people experienced enormous grief after the terror attack, and many still do.
Seventy-seven people were killed and a large number were seriously injured. For many of those who were directly affected by the terror attack, this grief became persistent. They were subjected to a loss in addition to extreme trauma, while, at the same time, their private grief was put on hold because of the lengthy external ‘noise’ of the court case, the judgment, the 22 July commission’s work and the enormous media focus. International studies have shown a high prevalence of anxiety, depression, trauma reactions and complicated grief reactions among the bereaved after acts of terror. Such losses can result in extensive and long-term trauma and grief issues, which in turn reduce quality of life and level of functioning at work and in education.
What is complicated grief?
Complicated grief is a collective term for persistent grief that may intensify over time. Those affected are so overwhelmed by grief that it affects their work and social functioning in their day-to-day lives. These reactions were described as depression in the past. For some people, complicated grief can be very persistent, and it can also occasionally turn into chronic grief.
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