15/05/2012 08:01 BST

American Psychiatrists Diagnose Grief As 'Depression'

Symptoms of grief could be diagnosed as depression, rather than as normal reactions, states an article on The Lancet.

In the past, the American Psychiatric Association has recommended the need to consider, and usually exclude, bereavement before diagnosis of a major depressive disorder - but in its forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there is no such exclusion for bereavement.

Deep sadness, loss, sleeplessness, crying inability to concentrate, tiredness and a loss of appetite, which continue for more than two weeks after the death of a loved one, are all symptoms that could be diagnosed as depression, rather than as normal reactions to grief, writes The Lancet.

The medical journal states: "Medicalising grief, so that treatment is legitimised routinely with antidepressants, for example, is not only dangerously simplistic, but also flawed. The evidence base for treating recently bereaved people with standard antidepressant regimens is absent. In many people, grief may be a necessary response to bereavement that should not be suppressed or eliminated."

10 Potential Signs Of Depression