Recently, it was announced that the American Psychiatric Association is currently revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a tool used by clinicians to diagnose patients. Shockingly, they’ve added grief as a treatable disease as part of the proposed changes.
Put simply, grief is not a clinical illness that can be “treated” but rather the normal, natural way in which people respond when they lose someone or something that is of deep value to them.
This topic will be widely covered in the coming months and has already garnered attention from the New York Times and other media outlets. As stated in the New York Times, this decision will affect millions of Americans for years to come. Following is what we need to remember:
We need to teach people of all ages how to grieve, rather than just diagnosing them. They need to learn how, where and why they need to grieve and they need a support system. That is what our society is often lacking.
If grief is added to DSM, clinicians will start prescribing drugs for this disorder, which will in turn mask the real pain of grief. Grief is painful and it lasts a long time. But eventually one can heal from the wound of loss.
As a society, we also need to be aware of the impact grief has in order for us to be more compassionate.
I was recently interviewed by CBS-2 Chicago on this topic and you can see the full article at: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/28/labeling-grief-a-mental-disorder-sparks-strong-debate/.
Suzy Yehl Marta 2012