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Old 08-11-2010, 02:35 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Requested Topics Thread

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
I heard this report the other day on NPR about recent changes in the guidelines regarding grief/depression. I think it would be a great topic for science-saturday. I would also love to hear Ocean & SkepDoc's takes on it!
I read the article and I tend to agree with the main idea, that if the symptoms of bereavement reach an intensity that they are significantly interfering with someone's ability to function, they should be treated. The whole argument about the "medicalization" of bereavement is, in my opinion, a new way of perpetuating the idea of stigma. What does it mean to medicalize in this case? Providing relief when the symptoms are serious and beyond what's expected for most people?

There's an aspect of this discussion which isn't really explored here but very superficially. Bereavement may serve a function in psychological maturation. There's a wonderful book that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the topic: Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst. However, even if psychological pain and loss provide an opportunity for growth, treatment of depression wouldn't necessarily prevent it. Pharmacological treatment with antidepressants would merely relieve the severity of the symptoms. Psychotherapy would most likely assist in processing the loss.
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