How Long Should It Take to Grieve? Psychiatry Has Come Up With an Answer.
She noticed something strange: in many cases, patients responded well to antidepressants, but their grief, according to the standard list of questions, did not hurt, remaining stubbornly high. When she pointed this out to the psychiatrists on the team, they showed little interest.
“Grief is normal,” she recalls. “We are psychiatrists, and we don’t worry about grief. We worry about depression and anxiety.” Her response was, “Well, how do you know it’s not a problem?”
Dr. Prigerson began collecting data. She concluded that many of the symptoms of intense grief, such as “anguish, longing, and cravings,” were different from depression and predicted it. bad results like high blood pressure and suicidal thoughts.
Her study found that most people have symptoms of grief peaked six months after death. BUT emission group — she estimates that 4 percent of people who have lost loved ones — have remained “stuck and unhappy,” she said, and will continue to struggle with mood, functioning, and sleep for a long time.
“You won’t have another soul mate, and you sort of live out your days,” she said.
In 2010, when the American Psychiatric Association proposed expanding the definition of depression to include suffering people, it provoked a back reaction, fueling broader criticism that mental health professionals are overdiagnosing and treating patients.
“You have to understand that doctors need diagnoses to classify people who walk in the door and get compensated,” said Jerome S. Wakefield, professor of social work at New York University. “It’s a huge pressure on DSM.”
However, researchers have continued to work on grief, increasingly seeing it as distinct from depression and more closely related to stress disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. M. Katherine Shire, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, developed a 16-week psychotherapy program based on intervention techniques used with trauma victims.