www.whyville.net Dec 30, 2012 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Grief: The New Sickness

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Whether its the loss of a good pet fish or a close family member, as humans we experience the process known as grief.

Dictionary.com defines grief as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.

While I agree with the fact that grief is considered a mild depression, the changes seem a bit too extreme.

These aforementioned changes in the APA (American Psychological Association) take away the bereavement exclusion, which was a one-year period preventing grieving persons from being diagnosed with depression. This new change will remove the one-year exemption and replace it with a mere two weeks.

This change occurred in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or as Psychiatrists like to refer it to, "Psychiatry's Bible". This manual helped separate what's normal to what's not. It's only been changed four times since its creation, and all of these changes are recent. These mentioned changes affect the normality of behaviors such as hoarding, severe pre-menstrual syndrome, binge eating, and temper tantrums.

I've personally experienced two losses from my core family this year, my little sister and my grandma. The period between these two losses was extremely short. So if this change was set in place at the time, I would without a doubt be diagnosed with depression. For this reason, I find two weeks an unreliable amount of time to diagnose a person with the exception of severe cases.

I've asked some Whyvillians on their input on the matter after an explanation of the changes.

Bibi4evr: Would you classify grieving as a form of depression? Why or why not?

Nicenfun: No, I do not believe grieving is a form of depression. Everyone experiences the lost of a loved one or a beloved pet and grieves, but not everyone goes through depression. Grieving is a natural process that, to me, allows people to start a new chapter of their life after a loss. Depression is psychological and deals with hormone imbalances at times which cannot be controlled without medication. Grieving, on the other hand, can be controlled by the person. I can see how others believe it is a form of depression, though. Some people may not be able to get through the grieving process and essentially pushes them towards depression.
Vancyon: No, I think that grieving is a natural period that everyone has to go through at one time or another. The only way to ease grief is time. Depression, however, can be treated. That's not to say that something that causes grief won't make a depression worse. I'm sure it can even be a catalyst of depression.

Bibi4evr: Do you find the change made by the APA to be appropriate? Why or why not?

Nicenfun: I do not find the change made by APA to be appropriate. Even though everyone handles the grieving process differently and takes their own time to get through it depending on the situation, two weeks does not seem long enough to clinically diagnose someone with depression. I, personally, would not be able to stop grieving after a mere two weeks after losing someone. That isn't enough time to properly handle the situation and to process it.
Vancyon: Yes, someone should not be in grief for a whole year. If it has been a year, I think that there is probably something happening on a larger scale. That being said, two weeks does seem a little short. It takes months to get over a loss in the family, and I'm sure I'm underestimating, because this has never happened to me before.

Bibi4evr: Do you think behaviors such as hoarding or temper tantrums are normal, or have underlying mental disorders? Explain why.

Nicenfun: I believe hoarding is an underlying mental disorder connecting to grief and depression, but temper tantrums (in children) are completely normal. Many people hoard things they have a connection to, whether it is the belongings of someone who has passed or if it is just something they have fond memories of. I believe they are not readily able to get through whatever experience it may be and they are clinging onto any memory of it as possible. We all see children having temper tantrums when they don't get what they want or if they are upset over the smallest thing, so I believe it is completely normal as long as it doesn't stem out into their teenage and adult years.
Vancyon: Everyone becomes attached to certain items overreacts sometimes. I think these two things become abnormal when it starts to affect the life of the person and those around them.

Thank you Nicenfun and Vancyon for your insight on the matter!

Overall, I believe that two weeks is too short of a period to grieve a loss. However, I feel that any good psychologist will be able to separate what is grieving and what is depression just as easily after a year.


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