Bereavement and grief to be pathologized and “aggressively treated” in the new DSM

Is emotional pain necessary? They might as well ask do we care to continue being human. This trend of pathologizing pain and making it wrong will be the end of us if we don’t do something to stop it. It is our subtle and lovely ability to feel that allows for all the beauty and, yes, pain too in the world. Sometimes I truly despair for our entire species, the planet, and all other species we share it with. This road we’re moving down does not bode well for our continued existence. There is a deep denial of what is necessary for life that seems to be everywhere.

I’ve lost people who are very close to me by death. I mourned and continue to mourn. That is my human right. I don’t understand why the idea that life should always be a bowl of cherries has caught on. The beauty is in experiencing it all. Good, bad, joyous, heartbreaking life. That’s what it’s about.

And what is even more frightening is that the medication “cure” can lead to iatrogenisis and pain that would never have been an issue at all had one trusted their bodies and our human inheritance. Our fear of feeling and hence, drugs which are used to avoid feeling are fueling the mental illness epidemic and sometimes causing long-term physical disabilities.

What has reached pathological proportions is FEAR of feeling. We can run, but it’s likely we won’t grow or heal as much as we could if we do. The thing that is most disturbing is those who call themselves healers are scared of the emotions in their patients.

NPR — Is Emotional Pain Necessary?
Earlier this year, the American Psychiatric Association released a rough draft of its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM. It’s a big book that lists all the mental disorders doctors can use to diagnose mental illness. One of the changes they’re proposing is causing controversy.

Traditionally, the manual has warned doctors away from diagnosing major depression in people who have just lost a loved one in what’s called “bereavement exclusion.” The idea was that feelings of intense pain were normal, so they shouldn’t be labeled as a mental disorder.

But the new DSM changes this. Buried in the pages is a small but potentially potent alteration that has implications not only for people like Theresa, but ultimately for the way that we think about and understand the emotion of pain.

The DSM committee removed the bereavement exclusion — a small, almost footnote at the bottom of the section that describes the symptoms of major depression — from the manual.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters