Mar 21, 2022 - Health

"Prolonged grief" becomes a diagnosis

Illustration of a person sitting on the ground surrounded by radiating lines.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Psychiatry's most influential diagnostic manual has a new disorder in its latest edition: prolonged grief.

Why it matters: The diagnoses could open up new ways of treating mental distress associated with grief and have that care paid for by insurers, the New York Times reports.

  • The addition of prolonged grief disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) comes at a time when many in the U.S. are grappling with loss related to the pandemic.

What they're saying: The inclusion of the disorder "will mean that mental health clinicians and patients and families alike share an understanding of what normal grief looks like and what might indicate a long-term problem," said APA CEO Saul Levin in a statement last fall about the move to add prolonged grief to the DSM.

But, but, but: The move was not without controversy, with some providers arguing the move categorizes a basic element of human emotions as a disorder and could lead to false positives, per the Times.

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