Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
As someone who lost her dog this week to an aggressive, rapid and sudden onset of cancer, I read with interest an article in today’s New York Times – covered in both the Well blog and in the Health section – about a movement to classify grief as a diagnosis so it can be treated alongside depression.
As Benedict Carey points out in yesterday’s paper, a new report finds a proposed change to the definition and diagnosis of depression would characterize grieving as a disorder and greatly increase the number of people treated for it.
Carey’s piece goes on to say:
The new report, by psychiatric researchers from Columbia and New York Universities, argues that the current definition of depression — which excludes bereavement, the usual grieving after the loss of a loved one — is far more accurate. If the “bereavement exclusion” is eliminated, they say, “there is the potential for considerable false-positive diagnosis and unnecessary treatment of grief-stricken persons.” Drugs for depression can have side effects, including low sex drive and sleeping problems.
I am working through my raw grief but at the same time I’m also someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time – and I take medication for it (living through a custody battle as a child, coupled with a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis at the same time, age 12, will do that!).
I know that the feelings of sadness and despair I feel now over the loss of my beloved Reilly are fleeting, that I’ll always miss him and mourn for him, but that life will go on. This is very different from the feelings of depression and sadness felt when none should realistically be there. It’s an important distinction and one that I think deserves a closer look. I will reserve judgment on which definition is best because I don’t believe there is one right or wrong answer but rather many shades of gray.
What do you think? Should people suffering from grief be treated for a disorder?