Disorders and Treatment
- Mental Illness
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Starting this May with the publication of the new DSM-5, there will be several changes in the way mental health disorders are diagnosed.
In the category of depression the noticeable change is the inclusion of grief (bereavement) in the list of criteria (signs) for depression. Until now, bereavement has been excluded from depression criteria.
The professional mental health community is divided about this change. Anyone who is interested or involved in the depression diagnosis will be hearing and reading more about this. Time will tell whether the bereavement inclusion has a noticeable effect on the diagnosis and treatment of depression, but the debate over its wisdom is likely to continue for now.
So, should bereavement be considered part of a list of depressive symptoms, or considered a painful but normal part of the human experience? As someone who has experienced both searing grief and the pits of depression, this author’s educated opinion is that the two experiences are not the same.
What is important for you though is being informed enough to make wise choices about your mental health care.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has undergone its fifth revision which will go live this May. You will see it referred to as the DSM-5. The DSM manual gives an overview of mental health disorders and lists the criteria or symptoms a person must have in order to receive a diagnosis.
Three experienced psychiatrists might diagnose the same individual three different ways and none of the doctors will be wrong. They will have interpreted the patient’s words, history, body language, and complaints likely within the same ball park, assigning them to similar but different bases. Criteria lists are black and white, but people are not.
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