"Grief Out of Darkness into Light" by Jozef Israels (1834-1911)
Advocates of a pharmaceutically mediated society are making strides into yet another area of human experience ~ grief, especially following the loss of a loved one ~ they now consider suitable for treatment with antidepressants.
A recent article from National Public Radio describes the debate stemming from the new draft of psychiatry’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, that opens the door for grieving to be considered as major depression and treated accordingly.
On one side are the advocates for treating grief with drugs and therapy:
"I'd rather make the mistake of calling someone depressed who may not be depressed, than missing the diagnosis of depression, not treating it, and having that person kill themselves," says Dr. Sid Zisook, one of the psychiatrists who has argued for removal of the bereavement exclusion. "I mean, [pain] is a normal consequence of breaking a bone. But that doesn't mean that we don't treat the pain. We treat the pain vigorously."
Then there the opponents who see grief as a natural process:
Dr. Allen Frances, the famous psychiatrist and a former editor of the DSM, says that more and more, psychiatry is medicalizing our experiences. That is, it is turning emotions that are perfectly normal into something pathological.
"Over the course of time, we've become looser in applying the term 'mental disorder' to the expectable aches and pains and sufferings of everyday life," Frances says. "And always, we think about a medication treatment for each and every problem."
Advocates say that treating grieving people as depressed will affect about a third of the bereaved.
Click here for the complete NPR article.