Positive signs in identifying disorders: Persistent grief disorder
The newly added disorder will potentially expand funding to research treatments, the newspaper reports. Naltrexone, used to treat addiction, is in clinical trials as a form of grief therapy.
Grief disorder has been added to the main handbook used by mental health professionals that includes criteria for assessing and diagnosing mental health conditions.
Formal recognition of the disorder will enable medical professionals to be appropriately reimbursed for the provision of medical care.
This condition occurs when someone experiences deep and intense grief after losing a loved one. In some cases, grief can last for more than a year and begin to affect the person’s physical, mental, and spiritual health.
“Because many of us live in a society focused on diagnosis, adding in lingering grief will allow those experiencing it to feel more authentic in their feelings. It will help therapists and mental health professionals as insurance claims can be verified more easily for grieving related experiences,“Kassondra Glenn, LMSW, a licensed psychotherapist and consultant with the Haven Prosperity Treatment Center.
“It may be difficult to concentrate, carry out normal activities, or there may be insomnia. There may also be intense waves of varying emotions or intense feelings of being overwhelmed,” she speaks.
Grief usually resolves within 6 to 12 months, but some people may experience persistent grief symptoms and develop persistent grief disorder.
Nolan says they can see a decline in physical, emotional, or mental health when grief strikes.
Symptoms of persistent grief disorder include emotional distress, intense feelings of pain and loneliness, identity disruption, and disbelief in the person’s death.
“Grief can completely derail. It’s not linear and often shows up in unexpected ways,“Glenn said.
In the United States alone, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of about 970,000 people and one study estimated that 120,630 children will lose a primary caregiver by 2021, but the number is now thought to be more than 200,000 .
Many people were unable to be with their loved ones or attend their funerals when they died due to COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, social isolation has disrupted people’s support networks and caused feelings of loneliness.
“These pandemic-related changes can disrupt or prolong a person’s grieving process,“Nolan said.
Their loss is considered to outlive social standards, causing distress or problems functioning in important aspects of their lives, such as social or occupational. Other symptoms of long-term grief disorder include identity disturbances (i.e. feeling as if a part of oneself is dead), feelings of distrust of death, and avoidance of reminders that the person is dead. , intense emotional pain, intense loneliness, numbing emotions, or feeling that life is meaningless, among others, according to the APA.
“The circumstances in which we live, with more than 675,000 COVID-19 deaths, may make persistent grief disorder more common,“Dr. Vivian B. Pender, MD, president of the APA, said in a statement from the official disorders association.
By incorporating sustained grief disorder into the DSM-5, the APA has made it easier for physicians treating the disorder to reimburse them for any care related to it.
“In theory, this would allow people continuing to struggle with grief to get treatment that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to,‘ said Nolan.
The addition is also expected to help researchers access funding to study the causes, risk factors, and treatments of persistent grief disorder. This can help people experiencing grief feel more comfortable in their emotions, says Glenn.
“It would allow people to have more precise language about their pain and perhaps allow pain to become something more tolerable. [and] integrated experience in society,“Glenn said.
Grief disorder is now officially recognized by the APA as a mental health condition, and it occurs when someone experiences extensive and intense grief after experiencing a loss.
Since then, researchers have continued to study grief, which appears to be distinct from depression and more closely related to stress disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. . Scientists and researchers have studied the principles that distinguish normal grief from disorder.
According to the DSM-5 definition, a diagnosis can be made one year after death. Measured at the 1-year mark, the newspaper reported, the criterion should apply to about 4% of bereaved families.
The inclusion of persistent grief disorder in the DSM means that clinicians can now bill insurance companies to treat people with the condition, reports New York Times. Currently, clinical trials are testing the drug naltrexone, a drug used to help treat addiction, as a form of grief therapy, and the development could open a new line of pharmacological research about other potential prescriptions.
However, some critics fear that the new diagnosis will cause false positives and encourage drug companies to convince the public that they need medical treatment to cope with the mourning, according to the NYT. . “I completely, completely disagree that grief is a mental illness,“Joanne Cacciatore, PhD, a related professor of social work at Arizona State University who runs Selah Carefarm, a retreat for the deceased, told the publication.”When someone who is a non-quote professional tells us we are confused and we feel very vulnerable and overwhelmed, we no longer trust ourselves and our feelings. me. For me, it was an extremely dangerous and short-sighted move.“
Still, others hope that the official diagnosis will help those who have withdrawn from society due to their losses, not only recently but throughout history. “They are widows who wear black for the rest of their lives, they withdraw from social relationships and live the rest of their lives in memory of the husband or wife they have lost,“Paul S. Appelbaum, MD, chair of the steering committee that oversees the revisions to the fifth edition of the DSM, told the NYT.”They are parents who never get over it, and that’s how we talk about them. Colloquially, we would say they never get over losing that kid.“
While some would argue that grief is an important aspect of the human experience and therefore not a medical condition, it cannot be denied that the current epidemic created it, so the loss and grief greater than ever. As Dr. Pender very rightly said, “If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, it’s important to re-examine yourself. Grieving in these circumstances is normal, but not to a certain extent and not most every day, almost every day for many months. Help is available.”