Monday, March 5, 2012

Gives a whole new meaning to "the 2-week wait"...

Many of us in the ALI community, and particularly those of us who have lost babies, are familiar with the work of Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, who founded the MISS Foundation after the loss of her daughter Cheyenne in 1994.

Dr. Joanne is speaking out against a proposed amendment to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) used by psychiatrists & psychologists to diagnose and treat mental disorders. Now, most of us who have been bereaved in some way know that there are a lot of similarities between grief and depression. Sometimes a bereaved person will also be depressed -- and grief can certainly contribute to depression -- but just because someone is bereaved doesn't necessarily mean that they are clinically depressed. They are just... grieving. And grief is a NORMAL reaction to the loss of a loved one.

Recognizing this, the DSM currently stipulates that someone grieving a loss cannot be diagnosed as clinically depressed until at least two months after their loss. (In past versions of the manual, it was one year.) The proposed amendment would shorten that period to just TWO WEEKS. In other words, after two weeks, grief could be classified as abnormal behaviour. You could be categorized as mentally ill if you're not deemed to be sufficiently "over" the death of a loved one. After just TWO WEEKS.


I read about this in the news a few weeks ago, but nobody has laid out exactly why this is not a good thing the way that Dr. Joanne has on her blog. Please read her post and help spread the word. (I don't often post openly about ALI issues on Facebook, but I shared this post on my wall today.)


  1. You've given me so much to think about in the last week.

    This is astounding. And fits together with the article about "over-sharing" of grief. That society thinks that grief is not normal, or at least is so uncomfortable with it that they think you should be medicated to "get over it." Appalling.

  2. You leave the best comments, Mali. : )

  3. Wow. I knew that society (Americans particularly) have proven obsessed with closure, but this deadline is beyond reason.