Compare And Contrast Grief And Depression

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Grief vs. Depression: Where to Draw the Line
Depression is often triggered by a negative event, such as divorce, illness, or the loss of a loved one. Grief and depression present very similar symptoms: dysphoric mood, feelings of guilt, cognitive slowness, fatigue, appetite changes, and recurrent thoughts of death. Whether a grieving person should be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a matter of significant controversy among healthcare professionals.
In previous editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), clinicians were advised to wait two months before diagnosing those who had just lost a loved one with MDD. This bereavement exclusion criterion was removed in the latest edition of the DSM and replaced with diagnostic criteria to help clinicians differentiate between normal grief and MDD. Mental health professionals that support the bereavement exclusion argue that grief is a natural part of life and that the diagnosis and treatment of MDD is unnecessary and harmful in some cases. Those that support the removal of the bereavement exclusion maintain that early
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Normal grief is characterized by waves of intense sadness, but the bereaved person is still capable of warm feelings. Most people experiencing normal grief do not meet the criteria for MDD and they usually don’t seek professional treatment anyway. However, those who suffer from MDD require early diagnosis and treatment. A study found that time spent in depression is a risk factor for suicide attempts (Sokero, 2005). In a National Public Radio interview, Sidney Zisook is quoted as saying: “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.” Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment of MDD is vital, regardless of what type of life event triggered the
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