Editors at work on the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders have proposed that bereavement should not be excluded before diagnosing a person.
Grief over the loss of a loved one has typically been considered as different from depression, although it can share many of the same symptoms: sadness, crying spells, loss of appetite, and the inability to concentrate. The source of a grieving person's depressed mood has been viewed as connected with a clearly-identifiable sad event; while for people who were depressed, the source of sadness was generally less clear-cut.
Now, the authors of the new revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) have proposed that bereavement should not necessarily be excluded before diagnosing a person with depression. The move has proved to be quite controversial.
The British medical journal The Lancet has published an editorial and a piece by Arthur Kleinman taking the position that classifying grief as a form of depression would be a bad idea. Kleinman, the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology and professor of medical anthropology in the faculty of medicine at Harvard University, was moved to write his piece based on his own experience of grief: he lost his wife less than a year ago.