That Time When the Psychiatric System Went Too Far… | Joanne Cacciatore


From Dr. Joanne Cacciatore: “Yes, this time, the psychiatric system has gone too far. Again.

They’ve taken what is sacred and they’ve desecrated it.

A few very persistent scholars have finally succeeding in declaring that expressions of grief extending beyond six months to one year are indicative of a pathology — yes, an actual mental illness — called ‘prolonged grief disorder’ (PGD), now ensconced in both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5 TR) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

This move offends many, from grassroots organizations providing care to grieving people for decades to individual grievers themselves to scholars and clinicians in the field (watch our round table discussion here and read Dougy Center’s Donna Schuurman’s response here).

The purported goal is to ensure that grieving people with ongoing ‘symptoms’ of grief that ‘impair functioning’ get the ‘treatment’ they need.

Yes, absolutely, grieving people need care, support, compassion, and connection. I’m just one of many people in the world who has been actively volunteering (for more than 25 years) to help those affected by traumatic grief. However, a diagnosis of mental illness, in my opinion, should be unnecessary for such help when your beloved child or children die, when your 40-year partner dies by suicide, or your 50-year-old mother dies during a pandemic and you never even had an opportunity to have a funeral. Why? Because I believe that grief after catastrophic loss is not a mental illness.

So, let me go point by point detailing my opposition to this move.”



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