March 22, 2012
Today I read Joanne Cacciatore’s blog. She’s the founder of the MISS Foundation, an international nonprofit organization with 75 chapters around the world aiding parents whose children have died or are dying at any age and from any cause. (She’s also a professor and researcher at Arizona State University and a psychotherapist.)
A few weeks ago Dr. Cacciatore wrote an entry, “DSM5 and Ethical Relativism,” opposing the proposed change in the DSM’s “bereavement exclusion,” which has to do with how much time you can grieve the death of a loved one before you’re deemed pathological (specifically, having a Depressive Disorder). It turns out that in the DSM-III, in use from 1980-1994, the bereavement exclusion was two years. Then its replacement, the DSM-IV, reduced it to two months. And the new DSM-5 wants to reduce it again, this time to 2 weeks! Talk about crazy!
Dr. Cacciatore’s blog went viral and within two weeks had 100,000 readers. She was prompted by this response and the outpouring of comments to write an Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association and to the DSM 5 Task Force (dated March 21, 2012) on behalf of these many thousands of people. She notes in her letter that “there is no empirical standing for the arbitrary two-week time frame, and thus this proposal not only contradicts good common sense but also rests on weak scientific evidence” and that the proposed revision “challenges what it means to be human and for some may be dangerous.”
It’s a strong letter. Spread the word!