Is Grief a Mental Illness or Part of Life?

There is a lot of controversy over how grief and depression are lumped together in the latest (May 2013) DSM-5 book; that is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” used by psychiatrists and other professionals.

Concern and disagreement are being brought to the forefront as some professionals feel the inclusion of grief and sadness as a component of depression gives the medical and psychiatric industry an easier, sanctioned way to dispense medications when grief becomes too much to for a person to handle.

The sadness and sorrow of grief can look similar to the sadness associated with depression. The dilemma arises when determining if someone experiencing the loss of a loved one is grieving or needs to be diagnosed as depressed?

In most cases the depression, sadness and symptoms of grief such as sleeplessness, fatigue, isolation and difficulty concentrating to name a few, subside over time.

With depression, many symptoms stay constant.  The pain of grief gradually changes and comes in bursts or waves.  This is only a snippet of the information being dispersed about the new changes for categorizing different illnesses.

Some professionals feel the “BIG” pharmacies are out to make a BIG buck.

I have included a few websites to view for more information on this topic and I am certain you can search for more.

  • “When did life itself become a treatable mental disorder?”  By Patricia Pearson Published Saturday, Apr. 27 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Retrieved May 28, 2013 from;

  • “DSM-5: When Grief And Depression Mingle”, By: Wynne Parry

Posted 05/22/2013 10:43 am EDT

Still applicable on October 29, 2022  Originally Retrieved May 27, 2013 from;

All my best

Barbara Gillett Saunders

Grief Counsellor/Thanatologist