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Mourning in America - should grief be treated the same as depression?

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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:16 AM
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Mourning in America - should grief be treated the same as depression?
Its a cardinal human experience: Someone we love dies, and we grieve the loss. This powerful emotion has inspired scores of poets, from Aeschylus to Jay-Z, and serves as the central metaphor of humanity for at least one of the worlds major religions.

In contemporary Western psychology, however, bereavement represents a conundrum. A depressed mood, diminished pleasure in normal activities, disrupted appetite and sleep patterns, thoughts of deaththese are the hallmarks of bereavement. And theyre also the measures clinicians use to diagnose treatable depression. This confusion is reopening the debate over what constitutes mental health.

At the heart of the debate, according to Scientific American (June 2011), are proposed changes to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), due in 2013. The DSM is a descriptive document that lists behaviors associated with various disorders. Doctors can compare these lists to the behavior of patients to make an informedyet by definition, subjectivediagnosis of mental illness.

Because bereavement and clinical depression share overlapping symptoms, the current version of the DSM prohibits prescribing psychiatric medications until two months after the death of a loved one. In the proposed DSM-5, this period is reduced to just two weeks.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/Mind-Body/Mourning-In-America-Medic...
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:21 AM
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1. Nah, situational depressions like grief after losing someone close are normal and natural
and don't need to be medicalized unless they've gone on for many months or years and incapacitate the bereaved. Then it's time for intervention and usually medication.

Personally, I'd prefer a line of around six months. After a loss, no one is particularly functional for the first six months. After that, thinking gradually becomes clearer as the loss becomes accepted as another unpleasant fact of life.

Trying to numb people out too soon after a loss would seem to prolong the process rather than help end it.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. ^^This^^
"Trying to numb people out too soon after a loss would seem to prolong the process rather than help end it."

Loss and the profound grief that comes from it are normal parts of the human experience. Bad things happen (a child, parent, or mate dies), sometimes they are epically bad (war and holocaust).

Human beings need time to move through all the stages of grief. Sometimes you go on in some fashion as you were before. You are different, but you still live in the same house or have the same job. Sometimes the loss causes you to go into a completely unexpected direction.

If anyone else interrupts that process, then you are "stuck" in a grief stage and have not returned to wholeness.

One thing I did notice while I was going through it, in general other people (acquaintances) don't want to hear it. They get confused about you if you start talking about taking up a different residence, different line of work, or wanting something more out of life or experimenting with any new experiences. (And sometimes this kind of talk can upset a mate who was happy with the status quo.)
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:23 AM
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2. This is 2010 response to the medicalization of grief by a DSM-V committee member
According to Dr. Allen Frances, MD, small changes in the in the Draft DSM-V could have profound impact on how people dealing with grief are diagnosed and treated (Psychiatric Times, March 16, 2010). Dr. Francis, who served as the chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, believes that although some people would benefit from quick access to necessary treatment,"others, an inaccurate and unnecessary psychiatric diagnosis could have many harmful effects. Medicalizing normal grief stigmatizes and reduces the normalcy and dignity of the pain, shortcircuits the expected existential processing of the loss, reduces reliance on the many well established cultural rituals for consoling grief, and would subject many people to unnecessary and potentially harmful medication treatment.

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gkhouston Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 08:23 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. "an inaccurate and unnecessary psychiatric diagnosis could have many harmful effects"
Years ago, I was misdiagnosed with depression because my father had died five months previously. My mood wasn't depressed but I was constantly tired. In reality, I had thyroid disease. Having once been hung with the "mental illness" label, it was even harder to convince doctors that something was wrong and that antidepressants weren't fixing the problem. By the time I was diagnosed, several doctors and two years later, I was so fatigued that my husband and I were in the process of moving to a new apartment in anticipation of my inability to hold down a job.

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HockeyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:33 AM
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3. Grieving the loss of pets
If they think people need "pills" to get over the loss of a loved one, imagine what they would think of grieving the loss of a pet? Lock them up and throw away the key?

People need to learn how to deal with life's bad times, not be MEDICATED against them. A pill for everything is not the solution to LIFE.
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
4. Two weeks?
Perhaps they should create a new category of mental illness - one that includes mental health professionals who think up crazy stuff like this 'change'.

I thought it was bad when they invented 'closure' - creating a bizarre goal for grieving people to reach . . .

gads.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Ain't that the truth
No one but the bereaved person can decide when he or she has finished grieving. And grieving the loss of an immediate family member can take years.
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Newest Reality Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. A gram beats a damn!
I would like to welcome our Pharmaceutical Overlords as the powerful corporate "citizens" that they are.

Profit is the boss of you! Behaviorism + drugs + mass media = victory.

You have exceeded your allotted, two-weeks of mourning!
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saras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:11 AM
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8. You mean drug the shit out of them so they don't care when we kill their relatives?
Neither grief nor depression are anything but normal responses to real-world conditions, in most cases. Living as a corporate drone OUGHT to make you depressed unto death. And you should, in response, fix the situation, not tweak your brain.
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