How Medicalizing Grief Turns Into Dollars
Forbes. February 21, 2012
grief, once excluded from the definition of depression, is now included within it.
This means that people grieving over the death of a loved one could theoretically go to their psychiatrist and be prescribed pills to treat the “condition.”
The Lancet beautifully outlines why the medicalization of grief is misguided for so many reasons.
Antidepressants don’t do anything to the moods of non-depressed people, they point out, so there’s little likelihood that they would work to reduce grief.
Arthur Kleinman, a medical anthropologist, says that since the APA wants to allow for treatment of the normal grieving process, it had to first yank it from Normalcy and plunk it down in the realm of Abnormal, or worse, “make it over into a disease—ie, depression.”
the DSM continues to shorten the normal grieving processes.
The DSM-III considered grief for up to one year acceptable, the DSM-IV only two months.
No other culture, Kleinman says, considers two months a normal amount of time to grieve. They must be shaking their heads at us silly Americans and our strange attitude towards grief. Cultures across the globe vary hugely in what’s considered a normal timeframe to grieve, some devoting the remainder of the lifespan to mourning the loss of a loved one.
a fundamental difference between grief and clinical depression: grief, in many ways, makes sense, as there is direct cause for the feelings of sadness, loss, sleeplessness, and lack of concentration.
Would you want to take a medication if it would help lighten the pain of grief?
Or is it better to experience it, work through it, and wait for it to lift in its own time?
There is undoubtedly a place where grief becomes depression when it does not lighten for a long time.
But considering it a symptom of depression from day one seems like a damaging way to define it.
Jan 2, 2016
When a young person experiences a frightening break from reality, Western experts usually label it a “first-episode psychosis”, while many psychologists and cultures define it as a “spiritual awakening.