Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder which lasts for up to 2 weeks if handled properly and for months or years if not handled after an acute stress. It can be a serious disorder.

Acute stress after the death of somebody very close will be called acute traumatic stress and the condition as PTSD.

The reference to grieving people mourning a death can be found in the Vedic literature. There is a custom that the grieved partner is made to weep till she or he is overwhelmed with emotions. In fact, all relatives and friends participate in the exercise, depending upon their respective closeness to the deceased.

Most relatives join in the antim yatra and after that the grieving person is made to sit for 90 min every day as a part of the ceremony which either ends on chautha or tervi where again everybody known gather together to end the ceremony. Thereafter, normal activities of life are resumed.

In some sections of the society there is also a custom of shaving the head or doing ‘daan’ of hair and/or wearing white clothes.

Is there a scientific explanation behind these customs?

The plausible explanations are many and are based on the observation that a grieving person may go into depression, which, if not treated properly, may last for months together, or even forever.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).