Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do we need a pill for a broken heart?

Death is part of life.  We don't like to talk about it and none of us are really ready to face the heartache it brings.  Depending on our relationship to the deceased, their death can bring a nearly overwhelming flood of emotions, pain and sorrow.

I think that many people who will tell you that all those emotions, pain and sorrow are part of the natural grieving process.

So how is it possible that grief could be considered a disorder?

Proposed changes to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), has launched a debate about the definition of depression. Psychiatrists say the current wording, which excludes "bereavement," hurts people who need help coping with their loss.

If the bereavement exclusion is removed, medical professionals could prescribe medication for depression. But isn't the death of someone you care about even a little bit, depressing?

When I first got into EMS I read Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' book On Death and Dying where she outlines the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Passing through one stage into the next is how we all grieve until we find acceptance with the situation.

This is how we grieve!

I think it will be dangerous for people to be taking medication to avoid grief, when we have a natural process to get us through.

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