By Vera H-C Chan
Among all the changes in the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the most controversial may have been removing the so-called "bereavement exclusion." The proposal galvanized what the New York Times dubbed a "bitter skirmish" over what depression means, inspired petitions, and roused a former DSM-IV task force chair to call its removal a "dreadful mistake that flies in the face of clinical common sense."
Acrimony aside, most in the debate agree that you can't put a clock on sorrow. There's little argument that grief and major depression are two different things, and that grief lessens its intensity over time while major depression is a recurring disorder.
Where people diverge reflects more fundamental worries: Does psychology pathologize grief? Can our fears about death itself turn a blind eye to mental illness? One side worries about an overdiagnosedRead More »from The fight over what grief means