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Prolonged Grief Disorder Is Considered a Mental Health Disorder

The Prolonged Grief Disorder has become a new diagnosis in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The catalog of psychological conditions used by clinicians to diagnose patients is the standard classification of mental disorders.

The diagnosis became official during a time when many Americans continue to experience ongoing disasters that have caused death and suffering, such as COVID-19.  It is characterized by injuring feelings of grief; Prolonged Grief Disorder happens when a person loses someone close to them within at least six months for children and adolescents or within at least 12 months for adults, according to the APA.

The grieving experiences an intense yearning for or preoccupation with the deceased person so that their reactions to the loss preoccupy them almost every day for at least a month. Their grieving process is considered to last longer than social norms. Other symptoms of Prolonged Grief Disorder include identity disruption, a marked sense of disbelief about the death, avoidance of reminders that the person is dead, intense emotional pain, extreme loneliness, emotional numbness, or a feeling that life is meaningless, among others.

Inclusion of Prolonged Grief Disorder in the DSM means that clinicians can now bill insurance companies for treating people for the condition, reports The New York Times. The clinical trials are testing the drug naltrexone, which is a drug used to help treat addiction, as a form of grief therapy. The development will set off a stream of pharmaceutical research on other potential prescriptions.

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