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Therapy Changes Paper Sheds New Light on Diagnosis, Treatment of Grief and Depression
Date:8/10/2013

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) August 10, 2013

The relationship between grief and depression following bereavement has generated much debate in the psychological community and public media. A new article by Rochelle Perper, Ph.D., “Grief, Depression and the DSM-5,” sheds new light on the subject, and can help both clinicians and the general public achieve a greater understanding of the clinical challenges and options for treating these conditions.

“The experience of grief following the loss of a loved one shares several symptoms of major depression,” says Perper. “However, there are some fundamental differences between depression in the context of grief and the signs of clinical depression. The paper is intended to help clinicians differentiate between a typical grief reaction and the clinical indicators of a major depressive episode, and assist them in identifying signs of persistent complex bereavement disorder in their future work with clients.”

The paper also addresses important changes regarding bereavement and major depression to the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 manual, which serves as a universal authority for the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Published in May, the DSM-5 now eliminates the bereavement exclusion as part of the diagnostic criteria for a major depressive episode. This leaves the diagnosis to the clinician’s discretion when differentiating between a major depressive episode and a typical grief reaction following bereavement.

According to Perper, proponents of this change believe it will aid in diagnostic consistency and provide rapid treatment options to bereaved people who experience symptoms of major depression. Opponents argue that the literature on bereavement is limited, and that bereavement should be distinguished as a unique phenomenon until it is better understood.

“The change to the DSM-5 essentially concludes that while bereavement and major depr
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