Is Grief a Mental illness?

Recently there has been a major change in how the Psychiatric Association will treat grief.

Below are two recent articles on the issue of whether grief is a mental illness or a normal part of life and death.  I’m including the links to the full articles so you can read and make up your own mind as to whether this is a move in the right direction or not.

Washington Post : Article by Associated Press, Published May 15

 Chicago— In the new psychiatric manual of mental disorders, grief soon after a loved one’s death can be considered major depression.

Those changes are just some of the reasons prominent critics say the American Psychiatric Association is out of control, turning common human problems into mental illnesses in a trend they say will just make the “pop-a-pill” culture worse.

The manual’s release comes at a time of increased scrutiny of health care costs and concern about drug company influence over doctors.

Washington Post :  Article by Tim Townsend – Religion News Service, Published: May 20

Psychiatry historically has refrained from calling normal grief a mental disorder. Since the last DSM was published in 1994, the guideline has been that when symptoms — sadness, distress, insomnia, trouble concentrating, lack of appetite — begin within two months of a loved one’s death, but do not persist beyond those two months, psychiatrists should not diagnose “major depressive disorder.” In earlier decades, psychiatrists waited a year before such a diagnosis.

The revision narrows that window to two weeks. So a person who has five of nine symptoms that define depression — regardless of the reason behind those symptoms — could be diagnosed as mentally ill.

Read the full article at:

Read the full article at:


  1. Valeria
    | Reply

    This is not okay.

    While some may become seriously depressed, it is wrong to say that ALL widows are mentally ill.


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