Grieving the death of a loved one may now easily earn you a Psych ward ticket

Sad woman in grief

There are many sources of information and we learn about all kinds of stuff everyday either from conversations or by studying. Irrespective of the accuracy of the source and over time, people usually just settle into ‘general impressions’ based on live experiences and stories especially in certain subject matters that people generally have limited information about. A typical example is in Mental Health and Disorders.

Everyone knows that the one place you should absolutely NOT be wrongly placed is in a psych home/ward because your mere statement of lucidity as an attempt to declare an absence of mental illness in fact, confirms you to be mentally disturbed.

Truth be told, while about any non-specialist medical practitioner may freely render advice pertaining to different parts of the body, there is a relative restrain to do so when it is with regards to psychiatry disorders because its current practice almost makes it seem like an entirely different aspect of healthcare- which ought not to be! Psychiatrists are doctors too but people rather refer to them as shrinks.

In all fairness, understanding the basics of psychiatry is part and parcel of med school training. The current practice has all psychiatry disorders grossly classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) of Mental Disorders. The DSM is literally the Bible of Psychiatry and was first published since 1952 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Yes, as far back as half a century with series of modifications at intervals, so I guess we can appreciate the efforts of the American Psychiatric Association (representing 36, 000 Psychiatrists) to attempt to get a revised fifth edition, “DSM-V: The Future of Psychiatry Diagnosis”; as indicated at

No sooner than expected, some 11, 000 petitioners, most of whom are Psychiatrists and a plethora of organizations declared their opposition.

Here is where the problem lies: DSM-V incorporates a large set of everyday mannerisms people generally regard as ‘rather normal’ behaviours which would Now qualify as Mental disorders! Meaning that if this proposed DSM-V goes through, people who are shy, in grief, eccentric, or even kids who throw tantrums could be regarded as been mentally ill and may have to be treated by anti-psychotics.

Take grief for instance, previous DSM- III gave room for a year as grieving period when a person looses a loved one before a psychiatrist declares persisting feelings of sadness, disturbed sleep patterns, lack of energy for life as a disorder requiring psychotherapy. The DSM- IV grossly reduced this time frame to two months, and here comes DSM- V almost completely obliterating that time line to two weeks.

In a similar light, an editorial by Lancet questions when grief should be classified as a mental illness: “In the draft version of DSM-5, however, there is no such exclusion for bereavement, which means that feelings of deep sadness, loss, sleeplessness, crying, inability to concentrate, tiredness, and no appetite, which continue for more than 2 weeks after the death of a loved one, could be diagnosed as depression, rather than as a normal grief reaction… Medicalising grief, so that treatment is legitimized routinely with antidepressants, for example, is not only dangerously simplistic, but also flawed.”

Some other new tags are “Mild Neurocognitive Disorder“- which will most likely rope in many normal senior citizens undergoing the ageing process; and “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder“- sorry for the stubborn kids who throw temper tantrums.

“Substance abuse” and “Substance dependence” disorders are to be all lumped into a single category: “Addiction and related disorders

In fact, a brand new set of extras will debut like: “Apathy Syndrome,” “Internet Addiction Disorder”, and “Parental Alienation Syndrome”.

Besides the fact that anti-psychotics being mind-affectative medications have their side effects, such a broad category will tremendously bloat future WHO and co statistical figures.

In many people, grief may be a necessary response to bereavement that should not be suppressed or eliminated. Sometimes the only treatment needed would be TLC (Tender Loving Care) from friends or surviving relatives, or even the doctor if he/she is all the patient has got to freely talk with, not pills and especially not anti-psychotics.

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