The Science of Health: Shades of Grief; June 2011; Scientific American Magazine; by Virginia Hughes; 2 Page(s)
Sooner or later most of us suffer deep grief over the death of someone we love. The experience often causes people to question their sanity—as when they momentarily think they have caught sight of their loved one on a crowded street. Many mourners ponder, even if only abstractedly, their reason for living. But when are these disturbing thoughts and emotions normal—that is to say, they become less consuming and intense with the passage of time—and when do they cross the line to pathology, requiring ongoing treatment with powerful antidepressants or psychotherapy, or both?
Two proposed changes in the “bible” of psychiatric disorders—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)—aim to answer that question when the book’s fifth edition comes out in 2013. One change expected to appear in the DSM-5 reflects a growing consensus in the mental health field; the other has provoked great controversy.