THE grieving process is in danger of being branded a medical condition if a mourner feels sad for more than two weeks and consults a GP, according to an international authority on death and dying.
At present, mourners can feel sad for two months before being told they have a mental disorder, says Professor Dale Larson. Decades ago, a diagnosis could be made after a year.
In a keynote address at an Australian Psychological Society conference in Melbourne on Saturday, Prof Larson will express his anger about the American Psychiatric Association’s new diagnostic manual, DSM 5, which is used in many countries including Australia and New Zealand.
The manual, to be published in May, allows a diagnosis of depression after two weeks of grieving.
According to Prof Larson, the manual undermines the legitimate feelings of the mourner and the help available from family, support groups, clerics and professional counsellors.
“We are essentially labeling grief a disorder. Now it becomes a target for drug development.”
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Another honorable profession….