Grieving? You May Soon Qualify as 'Depressed'

Controversial change to criteria is under review

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 24, 2012 5:45 PM CST

(Newser) – Doctors are considering what would be a controversial change to the definition of depression, reports the New York Times. For the first time, the official criteria to determine who gets diagnosed would include grief. Doctors who oppose the move say grief after the death of a loved is a perfectly normal process that would get stigmatized by the move. “This would pathologize them for behavior previously thought to be normal," says one opponent. It also could result in lots of people getting unnecessary drug treatments, say foes.

But doctors in favor of the change say too many people whose grief turns debilitating don't get the treatment they need because their behavior is considered "normal." The current criteria include nine symptoms such as sleep loss and loss of concentration, but an explicit exception is made for grieving. That exception would be removed under the proposal being debated for the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Another controversial change under consideration would tighten the definition of autism.

Grieving after a loved one's death might be considered one of the criteria for depression.
Grieving after a loved one's death might be considered one of the criteria for depression.   (Shutterstock)
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