A Parents grief – APA – Diagnosis- You are mentally ill

March 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm 8 comments

In essence, that is what the American Psychiatric Association now decides as they pigeon-hole we who have lost:

DSM-5: The Future of Psychiatric Diagnosis

Publication of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 will mark one the most anticipated events in the mental health field. As part of the development process, the preliminary draft revisions to the current diagnostic criteria for psychiatric diagnoses are now available for public review. We thank you for your interest in DSM-5 and hope that you use this opportunity not only to learn more about the proposed changes in DSM-5, but also about its history, its impact, and its developers.

However, in a recent blog post
Dr. Joanne Cacciatore,Asst Professor
Director, Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement
Arizona State University states:

For more than a year, I’ve been struggling, both professionally and personally, with the proposed changes for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM), even writing letters and expressing deep concern to colleagues in the ‘mental health’ field. Despite an urging from others to speak out, before today, I’ve remained silent in the hope that reason might find its way into the discussion about grief and the DSM.

The change that most concerns me has to do with the “bereavement exclusion”(BE). In the current manual, the DSM IV, this exclusion means that a person who has suffered the death of a loved one may be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) no less than two months following the loss. Prior iterations, the DSM III, stated one year…..

While I don’t like or agree with either ‘time limit’, the arbitrary absurdity of “14-days post-loss-then-becomes-depression-label” has ignited a fire in the pits of my being against the DSM machine.

And I’m not the sole adversary.

This change occurs against a historical DSM backdrop of salient criticism relative to the medicalization of normal human emotion, clinical hubris, cultural incompetence and insensitivity, questionable relationships with pharmaceutical companies, and ethical misuse of such nosological systems.

So why should those reading this bother to read the rather lengthy post and 80 comments on her blog? None of us will escape “grief”, although I can tell you first hand the loss of your son or daughter equates to no grief I have ever felt in my lifetime .
So you go for help because actually, as in my case, people worry about you want you to feel “better” -take the pills – see the counsellors
just maybe the post script to Dr. Joanne Cacciatore’s blog might be of interest:

1) Imagine the person you love most in all the world. Picture his or her face, laugh, touch. Now, imagine that you will never see that person again because he, or she, has died. And then imagine that a two-week time limit has been imposed on your sadness, grief, anger, fear, confusion. If you experience such profound distress longer than two weeks, you may be diagnosed with a mental disease.

Reason number one why this matters to you? Because someday, you will feel deep and profound grief that will bring you to your knees. You are not exempt. No one is. Grief, as Anne Morrow Lindbergh says, is “the great leveler”;

2) Because a person can be denied private health and life insurance if he or she has been diagnosed with a mental disorder;

3) Because parents who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder can lose custody of their children;

4) Because individuals diagnosed with mental disorders can lose opportunities for jobs and often suffer the effects of global discrimination;

5) Because a diagnosis of a mental disorder stays in your records, despite the fact that many clinicians may not disclose this;

6) Because categorizing normal grief as a mental disorder is a lie and thus is unethical;

7) Because this lie further perpetuates the myths around ‘normal’ grief and obscures societal understanding, further marginalizing the traumatically bereaved;

8) because such lies harm people and relationships, and

9) many other risks, some known and some yet to be discovered.

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, blogs, commentary, Doctors/Physicians, grief, health, medical, opinion. Tags: , , .

Hillary St. Pierre – her gift to you too – continues Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association and to the DSM 5 Task Force

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March 2012

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