In Medscape, three psychiatrists discuss the new definitions in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for grief, complicated grief, depression and major depression, and try to explain how to reliably distinguish between them all.
“Sid and Kathy, as we know, the concepts of grief, complicated grief, and depression are sometimes tough for clinicians to sort out,” states the interviewer. “This is especially true in the context of recent bereavement: that is, following the death of a loved one or significant other. Sometimes our colleagues in primary care — and in psychiatry, too — find it hard to tell whether a patient who has just suffered the death of a loved one is experiencing grief or depression, both, or neither.”
During his response, Dr. Sidney Zisook admits that “classification of mental disorders is a work in progress,” and then clarifies that the classification system is meant to be a “flexible guide” supplemented by “clinical judgment” and “caution.”
(Free registration) Distinguishing Grief, Complicated Grief, and Depression (Medscape, December 26, 2014)